The Joys and Challenges of Core Stability Research and Teaching – Part 2
an interview with Dr. Amit Abraham by Anthony Lett for BASI Pilates
Lett: I’m looking forward to hearing about the current thinking relating to “core stability”. The idea itself is not without controversy. I know there are various schools which dispute the notion of the “core” entirely. There are others who debate the way that it is taught i.e. pre-contracting muscles prior to any movement. Can you give us a brief synopsis of the current situation?
Dr. Abraham: This debate has been there forever and I guess it will accompany us into the future. The different approaches, led by the ‘Australian team’ in favor of selective activation and the ‘Canadian team’ in favor of non-selective activation, both have support in scientific literature. That probably tells us that both approaches are appropriate depending on the circumstances, the person, the needs, etc. My attitude and professional approach, however, were shaped by the ‘Australian team’ as described above, making me a big fan of accurate and self-aware activation of core muscles.
Moreover, based on my clinical experience, I saw many cases where accurate and thorough teaching followed by understanding of this concept changed the whole life of a patient (well, more than one, actually ). I’m totally convinced this is the right way to approach it. Also, with each and every session of core stability I give, when I see this moment when the eyes of the person in front of me are getting bigger and wider, and a smile of surprise spreads on the face as if it says I got it, it really exists, I can actually feel it now, I receive additional confirmation for that.
Lastly, as a researcher, I must tell you, the evidence is for both sides. I can argue and criticize any type of research and scientific paper. This is not a big deal. It more about what I truly believe will help my patients to reach a higher level of understanding, self-awareness, and function. For example, when I scan and show my clients their Transversus Abdominis and pelvic floor muscles with an ultra-sound machine, and help them realize how they’re using it or how they should do it, I just know this is the right thing to do. More about this debate and my opinions about it will be in the workshop.
Lett: What can students expect to cover in your first workshop, The Core of Core Stability? Will it be an academic enquiry, or will they learn some practical applications to take home and use in their studio practice?
Dr. Abraham: My workshops are all aimed at improving the participants’ skills as Pilates teachers and students. They consist of a refreshing blend of research and scientific evidence (no worries, it’s presented in a user-friendly way) along with a lot of clinical elements and case studies. I truly want to give my students the most and share my clinical and research experience. I believe that if we know the science behind what we’re doing, we’re doing it much better. It is also my passion and goal to make research friendlier to Pilates teachers so they understand it supports what they’re already doing. But it’s also an opportunity to learn new things and improve our practical skills.
In the “The Core of Core Stability” workshop I’ll cover all basic and advanced aspects of core stability including: the theoretical background of core stability, and how to briefly explain it to your students. How to identify and palpate the different pelvic regions and muscles, both superficial and deep. How to differentiate their activation, both on ourselves and on our students. The different levels of exercises, from very basic to advanced ones including evidence-based regimens and recommendations for daily training, how to integrate pelvic floor activity with core stability, and how to progress to more complex levels of activation while keeping our core in focus. These are only a few topics. Also, I’ll bring a few case studies to discuss in class and there will be a lot of practical sessions (single and pair work), including the use of pressure biofeedback and potentially a demonstration of real-time US assessment of core stability and pelvic floor muscles! One thing is for sure- it’s going to be FUN.
Dr. Abraham: The second course, Imagery Training for Enhancing Pilates Performance and Teaching will present the role of imagery for enhancing Pilates performance and preventing injuries. I’ll discuss two of the fields of imagery: motor imagery practice and the Franklin Method. We’ll discuss advantages and methods of application, and experience a lot of exercises in order to better embody the Pilates repertoire within our body.
Lett: Thank you again Amit! It is really exciting to have you as part of BASI Advanced Education and I look forward to attending your certificate courses.
Sign up for Dr. Abraham’s Workshops at BASI HQ in Costa Mesa, CA
The Core of Core Stability, Feb. 25-26, 2017
Imagery Training for Enhancing Pilates Performance and Teaching, Oct. 21-22, 2017 sign up coming soon