What is the ‘C Curve’? Such a simple question, yet so many confused minds!
So let’s clarify once and for all how, why, what, and when we have to create this strangely complicated ‘C Curve’ with our bodies!
In a nut shell, the curve is a movement of the spine that engages & strengthens the deepest abdominals, while opening the back and stretching the muscles out. This movement is used in many different exercises, so let’s get a better understanding of it…
The classic C Curve is always initiated by the abdominals. So, if you struggle with some exercises that require a C Curve, perhaps we should strengthen those tummy muscles more!
How do I do it?
Sit up tall on your mat with your legs bent hip width apart and parallel, feet flat on the mat in front of you. Hands behind the knees and elbows wide to allow a full stretch in the upper back. Inhale fill your lungs with air, as you exhale imagine someone is punching you in the lower tummy, draw the lower abs in toward the spine – the breathe will facilitate an opening in the back. Allow the ab connection to round out the lower back (lumbar spine), then the upper back (thoracic spine), and finally the head and neck (cervical spine). Make sure the ribs are zipped in, the chest is open toward the pubic bone, shoulders are relaxed and just in front the hip bones, neck long. Now your whole spine is making a capital C and is convex! This movement should feel like a big stretch for your whole spine, as well as deepening the lower abdominal scoop!
Why is it so hard to perfect this C Curve?
The head, neck, and shoulder part of the C Curve is naturally easy for us, as we slouch over our desks etc all day long! The hard part is always in the lower back initiation (lumbar spine) due to the thick vertebrae (bones that make up the spine) that are there to stabilize and hold the weight of the body; they’re not so flexible! The key is to really focus on drawing your lower/deepest abdominals in to try and reverse the natural concave curve of your lower spine.
When will I come across a C Curve in Pilates?
Rolling Like A Ball! We talked briefly in our last post about really mastering the C Curve of the spine in order to perfect your rolling in this exercise… Seal and Open Leg Rocker involve the same rolling action initiated by the C Curve of the spine. All the rolling exercises can be amazingly strengthening for your abs, but will be super frustrating if you haven’t mastered the C Curve. Our Half Roll Down/Full Roll Up, Spine Stretch Forward, are just two more exercises involving the C Curve recruitment in Pilates.
How do I perfect the C Curve?
Unfortunately guys, you can only perfect and accomplish a super correct C Curve by attaining a deep and strong lower ab engagement. Get to work!
Practise our ‘How do I do it’ as above whenever you have a moment to yourself, it will not only help you perfect your Mat moves, but it’s also a workout in itself!