core strength

Deep Core Strength Shown to Prevent Back Pain


People Feel & Function Better When They Do Pilates

We in Pilates have been talking about back pain and exercise for decades. And while a whole host of anecdotal evidence does point to the deep core strengthening of Pilates as a huge help in preventing and treating back pain, the scientific evidence has been scant.

The connection between Pilates and less back pain is clear to me. It seems obvious to me that if you strengthen pelvic and shoulder stability, and strengthen deepest as well as more superficial layers of muscle, you are in a better position to withstand higher impact activities without fear of back injury and pain.

And, guess what? Not only is it clear to me, it's true!

A new study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and published in the Journal of Biomechanics, examines what may cause chronic back pain in runners and what exercises may help. Basically, runners with weak deep core muscles are at higher risk of developing low back pain. "[W]eak deep core muscles force more superficial muscles like the abs to work harder and reach fatigue faster. When those superficial muscles are doing the work the deep core should be doing, there are often painful consequences."

It is not the six-pack that matters, but what is underneath it. And that is what we teach in Pilates!

Pilates Plank - Leg Pull Front


The Pilates Plank is called Leg Pull Front, and can involved lifting one leg and working the calf.

I always say that Pilates contains all of the basic body weight exercises within the system - including squats, planks, side planks, bridges, and push ups. And there are also plenty of squats and lunges to make everyone happy.

In my last video post of the Daily Core Exercises, many people commented that they were starting to do planks for full body and core strengthening.

I have a video for that! The Pilates plank shows up twice in the mat - leg pull front and the push-up.

Presenting my video on Planking - how to properly execute, modify, and add variation to make the basic exercise harder.

If you are adding the plank to your workout, this shows you how to do it correctly.