The Pilates Coach
It’s a part of your body you never even thought to name until you got to Pilates: the Powerhouse. But what muscles are in the Powerhouse, exactly? You may be surprised at how many are actually contained in the imaginary corset that forms the center and stable base of your body. Here’s a guide to all the Powerhouse muscles you strengthen in Pilates, separated into five main categories.
External Oblique :The external oblique is the largest of the three flat muscles on the side of the abdomen. It’s not very thick, but spans wide and has a kind of square shape. The external oblique pulls the chest downward, which compresses the abdomen.
Internal Oblique: The internal oblique is located just below the external oblique, on the side of the abdominals. It’s perpendicular to the external oblique and stretches from the lower back to the upper part of the hip bone, with fibers connecting to the 10th and 12th ribs. The internal oblique contracts when the diaphragm expands during breathing. It also pulls the rib cage and abdominal midline toward the hip and lower back when the side bends.
Transverses Abdomens: Just underneath the internal oblique lie the transverses abdominal muscles. It originates near the inside of the front of the hip bone and runs up to the 12th rib. It’s the deepest of the major abdominal muscles and acts to compress the ribs, providing core stability. When you “scoop” your abs, you engage the transverses abdominal more than any other abdominal muscle.
Rectus Abdomens: The rectus abdomen is the muscle more commonly known (when well defined) as a six-pack. It’s actually comprised of ten sections, with five on either side of the abdominals. It functions to flex the lower back, help breathing, and protect the internal organs.
Pyramidal is: Behind the rectus abdomens lies the pyramidal is muscle. This muscle is shaped like a small triangle, but is actually non-existent in 1/5 of the population. It serves to tense the linear Alba, part of the connective tissue in the abdominals.