Unless you have been living under a rock you’ve probably heard everything you need to know about core exercise and the iconic Pilates Powerhouse. It’s less likely – except if you are a physiotherapist or a student of the sport sciences – that you have heard about the four myofascial slings. Don’t worry. There’s a good chance old Joe never heard of them himself, yet intuitively, he developed an effective system that addresses their function.
What Are the Four Myofascial Slings and Why Do They Matter?
The concept of myofascial slings evolved from research studies on sacroiliac joint stability. This joint connects the pelvis and the sacrum, commonly referred to as the pelvic girdle. Two concepts explain how the SI joint achieves stability. Form closure relates to the actual structure of the bones and ligaments of the joint. Force closure describes how the external forces of the musculature system compress the two joint surfaces and provide stability.
Both form and force closure play key roles in the bracing and stabilization methods used in sports and Pilates. Form closure, however, is related to genetics. If you lack adequate form closure, you will need greater activity from the muscles that assist in force closure. Four myofascial slings, including the anterior oblique, posterior oblique, the posterior longitudinal and the lateral oblique slings perform this function.
Anterior Oblique Sling
Anterior Oblique Sling includes the pectorals, external and internal obliques and transverse abdominis. They work in conjunction with your hip adductor or inner thigh muscles. When these muscles engage, they compress the pelvic girdle to provide stability. In Pilates, they stabilize your pelvis during side-lying adduction, and during standing leg work on the reformer.
Posterior Oblique Sling
Posterior Oblique Sling includes the latissimus dorsi, which runs down the side of your back, and its opposite gluteus maximus and biceps femoris muscle. During a Pilates session, this sling provides stability during kneeling and prone butt exercises.
Posterior Longitudinal Sling
The Posterior Longitudinal Sling connects the deep core muscle called the multifidus, your spinal extensors and your hamstrings. This sling engages during Pilates exercises such as swimming, which combine spinal and hip extension.
Your gluteus maximus, medius minimus, hip abductors and adductors and illiotibial band form this sling. It stabilizes the hips during standing exercises and side-lying outer thigh work. Standing exercises on the Pilates chair engage this powerful sling.
You don’t have to know everything about myofascial slings to appreciate your Pilates sessions, but just be glad that your Clinical Pilates practitioner does. After assessing your alignment and muscle imbalances, your practitioner will determine which of the four slings requires the greates focus.
Call Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359 today to seek the help of our world-class Pilates Instructors!