How to Activate Your Deep Muscle Corset System

Charleston Samu Rii Marquis Blog, EN, General, In-depth Pilates 121 Comments

Did you ever wonder how to successfully work your deeper abdominals? Today we have a little present for you. Your DMCS (Deep Muscle Corset System) Flowchart! A practical and realistic guideline to verify your perception of the way you use your DMCS – your inner corset.

Achieve spinal and pelvic stability without racking your brain with multiple do’s and don’ts. But first …

What is a corset and what does it do?

A corset, as we all know it, is a device to support, brace and uplift various parts of our body. There are many different kinds of corsets depending on their use. Some of them are used in orthopaedic therapy to correct posture and spinal deformities such as scoliosis. When overused, however, some of these corsets, especially the ones used to artificially reduce our waistline, often inhibit our natural breathing process and can then actually cause the deformities they are supposed to correct. Now, how does this relate to our body’s deep muscle corset?

The deep muscles corset – our inherent support

Pilates breathing awareness

The deep muscle corset system (DMCS) is a muscular network that is much like a corset. However, unlike the traditional corset, the DMCS supports, braces and uplifts without ever inhibiting the natural breathing process.

Our DMCS is the main foundation of our Power Engine (Powerhouse). As a dynamic stabilizing system, it regulates the process, necessary to maintain pelvic and segmental spinal stability during physical activities – the concept of lumbopelvic control and core stability.

When things go wrong …

If our DMCS is not activated correctly, the effective functioning of our corset – our so-called “Powerhouse” as a core controller and power generator – is severely inhibited in all Pilates exercises.

For example; when our DMCS, is not engaged properly in the Pilates Hundred exercise our belly will be pushed upwards instead of falling downwards due to the downforce of the lower back on the mat and the over-dominance of the superficial side muscles (the external obliques).

Familiarize yourself with your deep muscle corset system

Try this simple exercise to get to know your DMCS.
Lie on the mat with your knees bent and hold a small ball in between your heels. Use your thumb and first two fingers to hold the skin above your navel and lift it up until you can clearly feel an opposing stretch on your belly. Breathe in your belly and then slowly let go of the breath like a slow delayed sigh. At the end of the sigh, without changing the relaxing condition brought about by the sigh, use the ABC principle to engage your DMCS

A – pull the skin down toward your spine and slightly resist the pull with your thumbs and fingers
B- press your heels together against the ball and
C – press the inside of your thighs together.

Keep this position for 7 seconds without consciously breathing in or out.

Get a deeper feel for your deep muscle corset system

In the activation of our DMCS many things can happen, which will inhibit the functioning of our Power Engine. This is why it is so important that we get a good feel for our DMCS.

If you, for example, find that you have a need to consciously breathe, it means that in the attempt to pull the belly in you have either
1) lifted your ribcage prior to pulling your belly towards your spine or
2) forcefully and concentrically contracted your obliques.

Both of these actions negatively oppose the correct implementation of your DMCS.

Learn to avoid faulty patterns

To ensure the best use of your DMCS, do these 3 actions before you draw your navel in
1. relax your collarbone area
2. visualize a softening above your pubic bone and
3. feel the pressure of your thumbs and fingers on your skin.

Now, do the above-mentioned exercise again. Do you feel the difference?

This way of pulling your belly in will engage your pelvic floor muscles and your transverses abdominis (the deepest of your abdominal muscles), and not the external obliques. You will so be able to hold this position for a long time because you learnt to use Power and not Force to activate your abdominal muscles.

After 3 sets of 7-second-holds, your legs will stick together and your belly will be drawn towards the spine without you consciously doing so. Try this exercise also sitting on a chair or lying on your side on the mat.

Voilà, your “A-ha!” experience of our Power without Force concept!

Use our little present and print out your simple DMCS Flowchart.
Engage your deeper muscles simply by following this efficient and coherent roadmap – your DMCS flowchart Companion. It will help you verify whether you already are using your deep muscle corset system or not yet.

Try it & fly with it!

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