So I went to Toronto a few weeks ago to finish up my training on Post Rehab Protocols with Body Harmonics. This final one was on the spine. Over the last year I have attended both Hip/Knee and Shoulders, and these were fantastic but I was always thinking, "hey I really want to do the spine one!" I always expected this one to be more challenging and complex than the other two... but boy was I surprised. There was a lot to it, of course, but compared to Hip and Knee it was a breeze. The reason is that all the info we learned basically boiled down to a central theme: wake up the local muscles in your body and the spine will be properly supported.
For those of you who find these terms unfamiliar, it's like this: we can classify muscles into two groups: local muscles and global muscles. Local muscles are buried deep in the body, switch on automatically before movement occurs, and are able to hold and stabilize for long periods. An example of a local muscle is the pelvic floor. Global muscles are located on the surface of the body, and help perform big movements. An example of a global muscle is the bicep in your arm.
I learned many amazing things on this course about the local muscular system. Here's a few for you:
If you activate one local muscle, the others in the system fire up automatically.
Local muscles are less likely to activate during situations of pain, stress or fatigue (ie. your back hurts!)
When your local muscles are working, you are likely to feel relaxed and invigorated.
Now I know why everyone feels better when they leave my pilates classes- it's because I switch on the local system of muscles and they feel great as a result! I always emphasize breathing in my classes and I learned that simply breathing deeply switches on your local system. Isn't that fantastic?
I'm going to follow up this blog post with a series of simple exercises you can do on your own that will wake up those locals for you. You can try it when your back is feeling a bit sore, or even if you are just feeling tired or fatigued. Taking a minute to wake it up will reinforce those overworked global muscles and make you feel invigorated. Like my fb page and you can see it all over the next few weeks. I'll be putting up videos and photos for you to enjoy and follow along with at home.
Yay for Pilates! It's amazing how everything I keep learning now is just an explanation of what I already knew- it's an absolutely fantastic exercise system... and it will make you feel great.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below!
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.