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Still Drawing Your Abdominals In?


In the brief article below, the analogy that Dr. McGill talks about with the fishing pole, I first heard directly from him at the Syracuse seminar. As he discusses, the lateral hoop tendons of the RA wrap around to stabilize the lower lumbar.

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PILATES exercises could cause more harm than good to some back-pain sufferers, controversial research suggests.

Studies into the “drawing in” method, a fundamental Pilates technique, have found the process may exacerbate pre-existing back conditions.

The technique involves participants drawing in their stomachs to their spines – and lifting the pelvic floor.

Stuart McGill, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, told The Sunday Telegraph that by targeting the core, transverse abdominal muscle, people were potentially weakening their spines.

“If you hollow in, you bring the muscles closer to the spine, which reduces the stability of the back, so inherently you create a more unstable column,” he said.

Professor McGill said he had reached this conclusion after analysing how varying loads and forces affected the way the spine functioned.

“Consider a fishing rod upright, with the butt on the ground,” he said.

“It would buckle with a few grams of load placed on top, (but) attach wires to the rod at different levels … and the rod will bear many kilos without buckling.

“Now bring the wire attachments on the ground closer to the base of the rod. Not only is the rod weakened, but it will buckle at a lower load. Your spine acts the same way.”

Pilates has long been trumpeted as helping its millions of followers stay toned and slim, while improving their posture and relieving back pain.

Its popularity has surged in recent years as people flock to classes.

Celebrities such as Madonna and Liz Hurley swear by its results.

Professor McGill said that although he believed Pilates in its purest form was advantageous for some, instructors should target all core muscles in the body and take into account their students’ fitness levels and injury history.

He said people should forget about “drawing in” and the transverse abdominal muscle and simply stiffen all the muscles and the abdominal wall at a level to match each task.

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One Response to “Still Drawing Your Abdominals In?”

  1. Valtan Says:

    That is one great article!

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