Even though six-pack abs does make you look (and feel) good, having true core strength provides many other fitness benefits.
Besides making you feel good, what other health benefits can be derived from having a strong core? Studies show it improves balance, posture, reduces back pain, makes breathing and everyday tasks easier, to name a few.
While there are specific exercises that will make your core stronger, yoga and Pilates are also great for building core strength. Let’s take a look at each to learn more about how they build core strength.
Besides meditation and breathing control, yoga also uses certain physical movements called asanas to build flexibility, balance and strength. You’ll see Sun salutations, bends, twists and inversions in almost every yoga class. Most routines work from seated to standing poses so every core muscle gets worked.
This form of exercise uses movements that focus on strengthening the torso. Because both sides of the body are used equally, dominant muscles get a break while the weaker muscles are forced to do more work. The result is an evenly balanced core.
With one of the six principles of Pilates being “centering”, the exercises build the muscles supporting the core including the abs, buttocks, pelvis and back.
Bringing the Two Together
Both yoga and Pilates involve using exercises that fully support the back by lying prone, on the back or on the side through the use of bodyweight. This keeps the spine in the neutral position. However Pilates does differ from yoga in that also uses resistance and weights in some of its exercises to build strength and physical conditioning.
Both yoga and Pilates use breathing techniques in their routines, however, the techniques differ. But in the end, both are important components to each discipline.
If you are currently using a core routine or are looking at starting a core strength training program, see if yoga and Pilates can help you achieve your goals.