Have you ever wondered how to successfully work your deep abdominal muscles? Today we have a littel present for you – your DMCS (deep muscle corset system) flowchart! A handy guide to help you check if you’re already using your deep muscle corset system or not yet.
Achieve spinal and pelvic stability without torturing your brain with various do’s and don’ts. But first …
What exactly is a corset and what is it good for?
By and large, the corset supports, braces and uplifts different parts of our body. There are different types of corsets depending on their use. In orthopaedic therapy, corsets are used to correct postural defects and spinal deformities such as scoliosis. However, caution is advised when using these corsets excessively – especially those that unnaturally reduce our waist. They often inhibit our natural breathing process and can then actually cause the deformities they are supposed to correct.
Now, how does this relate to our body’s deep muscle corset?
The deep muscle corset – Our innate support
The deep muscle corset system (DMCS) is our muscular network – similar to that of a corset. Unlike traditional corsets, however, the DMCS supports, braces and uplifts without ever interfering with the natural breathing process.
Our deep muscle corset system is the main supporter of our power engine – our core. It is a dynamic stabilisation system that regulates the process necessary to maintain pelvic and segmental spinal stability during physical activity. It gives us lumbopelvic control and core stability.
Our deep muscles are not used – no core control!
If we do not use our DMCS (deep muscle system) correctly, we significantly affect its function as a core controller and power generator in all Pilates exercises. For example, if we don’t use our DMCS correctly in the Pilates Hundred exercise, our abdomen will be pushed up instead of dropping down because of the pressure of the lower back on the mat and the dominance of the superficial side muscles (the external obliques).
Getting to know our deep muscle corset system
Try this simple exercise to familiarise yourself with your DMCS.
Lie on the mat with your knees bent and hold a small ball in between your heels. With your thumb, index and middle finger hold the skin above your navel and pull it away until you can clearly feel an opposing stretch on your belly. Inhale into your belly and slowly release your breath – like a slow, slightly delayed sigh of relief. At the end of the sigh, without changing the relaxed state (brought about by the sigh), follow the ABC principle for your DMCS
A – pull the skin towards your spine and gently hold with your fingers against the pulling.
B – squeeze the ball between your heels and
C – press the inside of your thighs together.
Hold this position for 7 seconds without intentionally inhaling or exhaling.
Get a feel for your deep muscle corset
When activating our DMCS, a lot can happen that affects the functioning of our power engine. Therefore, it is even more important to get a good feeling for our deep muscle corset system. If you, for example, find that you have a need to consciously breathe, it means that in the attempt to pull your belly in you have either
- lifted your chest before pulling your navel towards your spine or
- forcibly and concentrically contracted your obliques.
Both of these actions prevent your DMCS from functioning correctly.
Learn to avoid incorrect postures
To avoid bad posture, do the following before you pull your navel in
- relax your collarbone area
- visualise a softening above your pubic area and
- feel the pressure of the fingers on your skin.
Now, do the exercise again. Do you feel the difference?
This way of pulling our navel in will engage our pelvic floor muscles and our transversus abdominis (the deep abdominal muscle), and not the external obliques. We can hold the position for a long time because we have learned to use Power and not Force to activate our abdominal muscles. Voilà, your “a-ha!” experience of our Power without Force concept!
After doing this exercise 3 times, your legs will ‘stick together’ and your abdomen will be drawn inwards towards your spine without your conscious action. Try this exercise in different positions – lying on your back, on your side and sitting on a chair.
Take advantage of our little gift and print out your DMCS flowchart. Activate your deep abdominal muscles with the help of your DMCS companion. It will help you check whether you are already using your deep muscle corset system or not.
Try it & fly with it!
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