Foundation Training is a series of exercises based on the interrelated muscular chains of the body. Theses exercises work to quickly stabilize your spine and core. The current/ modern lifestyle cause these muscles to become weak and imbalanced. The belief is that you can fix many of the chronic pains by learning to connect the Posterior Chain (low back , hamstrings, glutes and calves). The foundation teaches you to move naturally and evenly absorbing the weight of your body. As you move properly (as nature intended) you will engage more muscles in every activity you do.
Foundation exercises strengthen the deep spinal muscles and large postural muscle groups through a combination of isometric (sustained hold) and mobility training. The program emphases creating back muscle strength, rather than just abdominal strength.
Zip And Hollow – the “Hidden Secret” of Pilates
Engage your deep abdominal muscles and pulling up on their pelvic floor. This is how you tighten/brace your midsection for (Pilates) exercise.
Zip: Start standing – find your neutral spine and keep neck and shoulders relaxed. Tighten your Kegel muscles, pulling up your crotch muscles, as if you’re trying to stop yourself from peeing. Pull up a few times as far as you can, then halfway up, then a quarter of the way up. Don’t worry if you don’t feel anything, it takes a bit of practice. Relax the rest of the body and breathe. Close your eyes and imagine your muscles responding to your direction. You might feel your ab muscles contract a bit and your lower back tense. This is a good sign – your deep core muscles are working!
Hollow: Imagine trying to pull on a tight pair of jeans. You have to pull your bellybutton backwards away from the waistband towards your spine. Practice pulling it back as far as you can, then halfway, then a quarter of the way – just like your pelvic floor exercise. You will feel your abdominal muscles tighten and flatten. Keep the contraction low on your somach – if you suck in the muscles directly below your rib-cage, you won’t be able to breathe easily as these are the wrong muscles.
Now do the Zip and Hollow together….pull your pelvic floor up a quarter of the way, and at the same time pull your stomach back a quarter of the way towards your spine.
Don’t lift your shoulders, clinch your teeth and keep Breathing. Don’t obsess about having perfect technique off the bat – it takes practice.