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  Pilates low back Pain (2):   work the transversus abdominis Pilates Information
Pilates Alexander Technique
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Work the Transversus Abdominus-
"Zip and Hollow" (the core of Pilates Teaching!)-
In Pilates Low Back Pain (1): Relaxation & Pelvic Neutral , you found the position of safety for your lumbo-sacral and lower lumbar vertebral joints. Now you need to learn how to brace this area. Modern physiotherapy is able to confirm what Pilates knew a century ago. And what he knew, you are about to learn. The main muscles of lumbo-pelvic stability are the Transversus Abdominus, the Pelvic Floor muscles, and the Multifidus. Many other muscles play a role too. These muscles are too deep to be obvious, so you need special training to learn how to activate them. Specific exercises for the Multifidus will be taught in a later session. The following exercise teaches how to activate the transversus abdominus:-

Lie in the relaxation position [diagram (4)], and find pelvic neutral, as described in the previous lesson . Put your hands on the area of your abdomen that would be covered by the front part of a bikini. For the time being, we shall call this the “bikini patch”. Have your thumbs touching at the navel, and your fingers touching at the midline, about 6 cm below the navel.

(transversus abdominis mechanism scroll right>>>>>....
(1) Transversus
from the front Transversus
      abdominus from the front
(2) Transversus
from the side Transversus
      abdominus from the side
(3) Multifidus muscle,
lumbar part
Multifidus muscle
(4) Relaxation Position
Relaxation Position
Work the Transversus abdominis
© Bruce Thomson EasyVigour Project scroll up^^^^....
Now imagine that you have to zip up a very tight pair of jeans: -
  1. Hollow the area under you thumbs and fingers toward your spine. There may only be a very small movement. (maintain Pelvic and Chest Neutral neutral!)
  2. Now imagine (if it hasn’t aready happened), that the area under your fingers is being zipped together like that tight pair of jeans! (keep the rest of your body relaxed, maintain Pelvic and Chest Neutral neutral!)
(If you are having trouble making the above happen, try leaving just one hand over the “bikini patch”, and sucking your thumb with the other- suck gently for stage (1), and hard for stage (2)- Sounds weird, but it does help!). Hollowing your “bikini patch” will feel strange at first: Up until now you had no awareness of the Transversus abdominis. It is a deep, slow moving, postural muscle. The Transversus abdominis can and indeed shoud be working at 2 to 20% of maximum contractile force during all your waking hours. Note: Your breathing will undoubtedly feel restricted, by Transversus abdominis contraction, so we have to correct that next.

Next lesson: Pilates Low Back Pain (3): Experiment with Your Breath!
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