Hydro-Pilates Challenges Poor Micro Control in the Water

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

‘Brace the Core’ or ‘Engage the Core’ has almost become a mantra chant in the fitness industry. As an exercise therapist, I often wonder if clients know how to control movement through micro control within the trunk. I think as instructors we must first be familiar with the anatomy, physiology and kinesiology of the local stabilizing core so that we can properly teach clients or class members how to engage the body correctly. i.e. engage the intrinsic (deep stabilising) muscles to protect the spine whilst activating the superficial (global) muscles during functional and everyday movements. The water is a perfect environment to do this. With the water constantly moving around the body, buoyancy and stability challenges, hydrostatic pressure and many more properties of water make this a perfect environment to train these intrinsic stabilisers.


The core refers to two elements of the trunk and attached levers and musculature. It refers to the muscle groups which sit deep and closest to the spine as intrinsic stabilisers, and the global mobilisers which are the muscles we use for movement. Good core stability is the ability to create deep pelvic and spinal activation in order to support the movement required during any chosen activity.

The intrinsic stabilising muscles are the deep muscles with their origin or insertion closest to the spine & pelvis.

These muscles form a cylinder of support around the spine. By co-contraction in the correct recruitment sequence initiated by either, a neural feed forward, or a backward feedback loop from the neural system activating these stabilisers to protect the spine when using the global prime movers.

These muscles include:

Transversus Abdominus (anteriorly via abdominal aponeurosis)

Internal Obliques (antero-lateral)

Pelvic floor (inferior)

Multifidus (posterior)

Deep erector spinae muscles (posterior)

Quadratus Lumborum (postero-lateral)

Diaphragm (superior)

Iliopsoas (inferior/superior)

Directionally located these deep stabilisers work as a cylinder unit of stability to support the spine.