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Explore the core - Part II

Powerhouse and core strength with Pilates

In part II of this core series we will be taking a closer look at the Powerhouse and how to make your core stronger.

The powerhouse is one of the most important concepts in Pilates training. In the previous blog I have explained core strength. Both terms are used regularly and seem interchangeable but they have a different meaning.


The powerhouse area of your body goes from the bottom of your ribs to your hip line. It includes the abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the glutes (butt muscles). These muscles work together to form a supportive corset for your trunk. Apart from stabilising they create the big moves we make, and they give those moves their dynamic strength.

The core muscles are part of the powerhouse set, and using your core is therefore part of using your powerhouse. However, the core muscles are not the big movers like the rectus abdominis or glutes when we talk about the powerhouse. It is the powerhouse that gives us the energy, stability, strength, and control to move from beginners level into the intermediate and advanced Pilates exercises.

Core strengthening

Activating your powerhouse or even your core doesn’t come easy when you are a novice in the world of Pilates. It takes time, effort and concentration to discover it, feel it getting stronger and then using it in your daily life. To get you started a few tips & tricks.

Walk tall

I hear a lot of clients talking about improving their posture. And so they should be because a good posture is essential for strengthening your core. If you slouch, usually that means having a bad posture, you are never going to work the muscles you need to develop your core. How to improve? Imagine that you have a piece of string drawing the crown of your head to the sky. This will not only allow you to appear taller, it will also ensure that your core muscles are switched on.

Sit and activate

You can strengthen your core without getting out of your chair. Sit tall and imagine that a jellyfish is travelling up your spine as you exhale. In doing so you will feel your pelvic floor activating. This is great to practice if you have to sit for a long time as it helps to alleviate pressure on your vertebrae.

Deepen the work

There are multiple muscles that require your attention in order to help you strengthening your core. Following the Classical Pilates repertoire will make sure all those muscles are activated. Even though it looks like you do similar exercises every time you perform them you will deepen the work by stretching further, scooping more abs, curl up higher and hugging the midline even closer.


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Marco Dingemans is a qualified Classical Pilates mat instructor

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