How can I build core strength for my children?

Using Pilates as a way to build core strength

So, let's look at core strength. When you think about Pilates, you immediately think core strength. It's one of the most talked about buzzwords. Everybody's talking about core strength this, core strength that; but it's not about getting abs or a six pack. People often get this on board with, you know, 'Oh, we need great abs, we need a six pack'.

But that is something entirely different to Core Strength.  Core strength is about the muscles that support the trunk, the spine, and the shoulder girdle, which is sometimes called the upper core.

As a teacher, it's really, really easy to see the signs of poor core strength.  The easiest thing to look for is fidgeting and not being able to sit up properly for very long; another one might be poor balance and coordination, and finally another might be poor motor skills; including poor handwriting skills, or just not being able to sit up for very long. 

Watch the short video for some amazing ways you can help children build their core strength and why it's important.

Scroll down to read more.

One to look out for is what is called 'W' sitting; where a child sits comfortably and happily on the floor with their feet out either side of their bottom and their knees tucked in.  It might be their preferred position, but it's really, really bad for them! 

Try to encourage them away from this type of position because it really damages their ligaments, their tendons, their bones, even as they're developing. It also makes their whole musculature switch off so that it can't actually activate to support them very well.    This can cause really long term problems into their teens and adulthood. So if anything, please try and encourage them away from this position and encourage them to sit cross-legged on the floor instead. 

Think about the children that you're teaching and how it relates to them, especially children with additional needs as they may often present with these indicators, so Pilates can have a massive impact on every child in your class.

Let's take the Palazzo; it's one of the best known Pilates exercises and it improves core strength immensely.

I'm going to show you how you can teach this really easily to your class and get some great results. We use videos to demonstrate the moves and the children follow along, learning the moves as we go. We then put all the moves they have learnt into a fun thing with an exciting story. So even the most reluctant children will join in.

Here's the hundred. This one we are lying down on our backs, flexor bent and we start in an easy position, lifting one leg up so that it looks like a square above your hip and then the other leg up to join it, heels and knees are level which is your easiest position.  To make it a little bit harder, straighten the legs out, but keep them up quite high and it's easier than going lower.

Decide where you work the best way you feel, it's challenging you but not working too hard.

So let's recap. Legs bent easiest next level extended legs. But higher. Next level lower. OK, and that's the hundred.

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