Today is all about scooping. We’re not talking about ice cream or your pup’s poo, but rather the “pilates scoop.” This concept, and its importance, were recently reinforced for me during a yoga retreat to Mexico. Myself and fellow attendees spent a week honing in on how mindful scooping can improve flexibility and stable movement.
How can scooping benefit you? The Pilates scoop, or abdominal scoop, refers generally to the act of pulling your naval in towards your spine. More specifically, an abdominal scoop involves contracting the transverse abdominal muscle, the deepest core muscle, and pelvic floor muscles, especially the pubococcygeus. Contracting these muscles concurrently creates a sort of “T” in the lower abdomen.
Contracting these muscles is important because you can practice mindfully activating them anywhere, anytime. Doing so improves fundamental muscular awareness for all types of sports and activities, including sitting at your desk (link to chair article). Strong transverse abdominal muscles help reduce low back pain, a condition experienced by some 31 million Americans at any given time. Kegel exercises which activate pelvic floor muscles in a clench-and-release fashion aid in prolapse and incontinence reduction, and can improve orgasms.
So, instead of asking why you should scoop, the better question may be, why aren’t you scooping?
Author: Julia Anthony
B.S. Exercise Specialist, CSCS, NASM CPT