By now we know that the bellybutton and spine should always be in close contact during a Pilates class (and in every day life for that matter), but let’s get real about what else you should be engaging in your Pilates classes. There are many ways to say it, but probably only one word that will resonate. You need to engage your kegel muscle. For those with more delicate ears, we could also say the pelvic floor, the lower powerhouse, the pubococcygeus, or the PC muscle. Men, you’re involved in this discussion. Guys can do kegel exercises, too. Regardless, that muscles should be engaged along with the core.
The pubococcygeus is the muscle that connects from the pubic bone to the coccyx (tailbone) and supports the pelvic organs like the bladder and reproductive system. The pelvis is talked about a lot in Pilates classes—initiating from it, tucking it, curling it, etc—so using that PC muscle will help to isolate the movement of the pelvis. You’ll feel a deeper core engagement since you’ll effectively be using the muscles that usually start movements. Engaging the PC muscle to send the pubic bone towards the ceiling before imprinting the spine and coming to a shoulder bridge is great example. It sounds a bit tedious and specific, but isn’t that kind of what Pilates is all about? Finding those tiny muscles that you’ve never felt before to dig deeper and get the best workout possible.
Doing kegel exercises will help you find these muscles and subsequently engage them in class. You’ll find some of the true benefits of Pilates in no time. “Bellybutton to spine” will have a whole new meaning, you’ll have more supported internal organs, and better sex. To spare me further embarrassment, here are some links to learn how to do kegel exercises.
Welp, that was awkward, but it needed to be said! I guarantee you’ll think about it the next time you’re on the mat.