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What Is the Pilates Powerhouse?

in Southfield, MI

What Is the Pilates Powerhouse?

In the early 20th century, Joseph Pilates developed an exercise system that
focused on the center of the body. The system was known as ‘contrology’ .
These days, you know it as Pilates. And it still works from a basic
understanding that every motion comes from the core – also known as the
Pilates powerhouse.

The Pilates powerhouse serves as a solid foundation not just for all of the
exercises in the Pilates system, but for movements we perform in our
everyday lives.

So Then What Is the Pilates Powerhouse More Specifically?

Some camps regard the powerhouse on a purely anatomical level. It’s
defined by the region from the diaphragm to the top of the pelvis. This
applies both to the front and back of the body. So yes, the lower back is
considered part of the ‘core’ just as much as the abs.

In a Pilates class, instructors explain ways to connect to particular muscle
groups – usually in the torso. These include the transverse abdominis,
diaphragm, multifidus, quadratus lumborum, lateral rotators, and the
muscles in the pelvic floor. These movements may be done on the floor or
Pilates machines such as the reformer.

Other camps regard how the muscles are used in context with the
movements as the powerhouse. For them, it’s a set of actions that produce
the optimal results of a strong core, correct posture, proper alignment, and
progression in one’s practice.

So depending on how you see it, the powerhouse can be the area you work
to strengthen and stretch, the actions that build on each other in all the
planes of movement, or both.

The Importance of a Strong Core

Whatever the case, a strong core has many benefits . At the heart of a
strong core is improved posture, balance, stability, and energy. But all of

this results in decreased injury risk, less fatigue in supporting muscles,
more support for the spine, increased strength in the muscles of the limbs,
and just the general ability to perform everyday activities more efficiently.

So maybe you have a chiseled six-pack and think that working the core is
beyond you. Think again. Having highly toned abs doesn’t necessarily
mean you have a strong core.

Are Your Powerhouse Muscles Are Weak?

Are you noticing weird pains in the body? How is your balance? These may
seem unrelated to the powerhouse, but a weak core can show up in ways
you may not expect. Especially if you’ve gone to great lengths to build just
your abs.

Remember, your core is not just your abs. It’s that entire section, front and
back, that we mentioned above. So if any of your powerhouse muscles are
weak, you may be noticing more injuries when playing sports, poor posture
and/or balance, a sore back, overall muscle weakness in everyday
activities (such as squatting and lifting), inefficient functional movement, or
excessive joint movement. There could be others.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to start strengthening the Pilates powerhouse
muscles. Even if you’ve had multiple injuries or are of advanced age. It’s
about starting at the right level and then progressing slowly to achieve your
goals. Pilates is highly adaptable to this.

How Does Pilates Help Build Your Powerhouse?

The Pilates system involves precise movements that originate in the core.
To do these effectively, practitioners learn to move in a smooth and
controlled way with great attention to form and alignment.

As such, the exercises safely train several muscle groups simultaneously.

Every movement flows from the powerhouse muscles of the back and the
pelvis. These muscles serve to anchor the body and maintain the proper
spinal alignment known as neutral spine. This means the spine is neither
flat nor overarched. It is held upright maintaining its natural curves.


At the end of the day, Pilates is about finding the balance of opposing
muscles while achieving the ideal range of motion in every joint. Awareness
to alignment strengthens neglected postural muscles to help improve
posture. And it targets those deep powerhouse muscles to both contract
and release. This is the true sign of strength. 

Are You Ready to Build Your Powerhouse?

Now that you know the answer to what is the Pilates powerhouse, you may
be ready to start building your own!

And why not? There are so many benefits to having a strong core.

So go ahead! Contact us today to find out how you can reap the rewards of
a consistent Pilates practice.