I get a lot of people say to me ‘Pilates — it’s great for your core’. The (exercise) world is full of gimmicks, fads and tag lines— so I often wonder if they actually understand what that means.
As much as I would like to say Pilates is more than just exercise (which it is), I have come to accept that Pilates is first and foremost about exercise. It is about body conditioning, strength training and at the ‘core’ of it is the ‘powerhouse’.
Roll your eyes as you may, I certainly did when Pilates became all the rage and the word ‘powerhouse’ was the common vernacular. It reminds me of my last trip to NYC in 2014, when I trained with this really old-school teacher and she blurted out “God, I am so sick of hearing that word!". And to a certain extent I agree. However, for the purpose of accuracy and familiarity, I am going with the term ‘powerhouse’ for this article.
So without further ado — let’s talk ‘Powerhouse’.
…Strength in movement is achieved through interconnectivity versus isolation, thereby the body is strengthened with more control and stability.
The Powerhouse is comprised of a group of muscles; abdominals (upper an lower), lower back, buttocks and the hip — this is the core of Pilates. According to Joseph Pilates, the powerhouse is the centre of the body and when strengthened it offers a solid foundation for any movement. The extremities; arms, legs and shoulders — is a muscular network that extends from this powerhouse.
What distinguishes Pilates from most other exercise modalities is strength in movement is achieved through interconnectivity versus isolation, thereby the body is strengthened with more control and stability.
With a strong powerhouse in hand, one endeavours to learn the 6 principles of Pilates; Concentration, Control, Centering, Flow (efficiency of movement), Precision and Breathing.
When you think about it, the powerhouse is aptly named because when engaged — it is the house of power.
So next time you hear someone say, “I want to work my core” — you can respond “you know, the core is comprised of …etc ”. You may get an eye roll but most likely a blank look staring back at you — followed by “you’re such a Pilates geek!”