Building a strong core is the key to being faster and stronger at all your workouts, making it one of the most important things to focus on while you train. Anushka Sharma, who has always been a fan of exercising, doubled down on the importance of it during an interview with Vogue India. “It’s important to exercise not just to be healthy and fit but it even reflects on your skin and hair. I am very particular about my workouts and try not missing it even when I’m shooting,” she shared. Pilates is a great way to work on all the muscles that fire up the core, and is Sharma’s go-to. “Pilates understands that the core is the powerhouse of the body and the exercises are focused on working the deep stabilising and mobilising muscles of the core, thus enabling a stronger core,” says Megha Kawale, Sharma’s trainer. “Pilates helps to work on the smaller muscles of the body which mostly are difficult to access with other forms of exercise.”
What does a pilates session with Anushka Sharma look like
“For Anushka, a toned body and strong core muscles, go beyond the realms of vanity. For her, it is all about being fit and strong. Our workouts are focused on sculpting and strengthening her body,” confirms Kawale, sharing that when in-person workouts were possible, Sharma was at her studio four times a week. “Anushka is very focused and positive, which results in a fun-filled workout session. Our main focus is on the core, smaller and bigger muscle groups working together.” For Sharma, mixing it up is key. Using props like the pole, ring and ball ensure that the workouts are always interesting and different. “Her workouts are usually intense. The routines are a mix of rehab Pilates and athletic Pilates on the reformer and chair.”
Pilates is a great workout form to work through niggles and pain, and that is exactly what Kawale and Sharma did. “When we started our journey with Pilates together, it was to take care of her sensitive lower back and build a strong core. So our focus was always the core and our aim was to elevate her fitness levels further. Initially, we did a lot of isolated core work as I wanted to ensure that we don’t stress her back, while working on core activation and recruitment. Then gradually we starting mixing the routines in the reformer and chair by doing combination core exercises.”
The exercise form also requires you to stay present and engage the core the entire time. “With Pilates, she has learnt to connect her breath and movement while engaging the core. So whether we work on the upper body, the lower body or isolated muscle groups, the focus is always on recruiting the core during the whole time of the session.”
A pilates mat workout to engage and boost the core
Kawale suggests adding these to your repertoire on a regular basis to keep building on your core strength.
- The chest lift. This strengthens the abdominals while increasing thoracic flexion, which improves lumbar-pelvic stability and control and proper recruitment of the muscles.
- Chest lift with rotations. This strengthens the oblique muscles and helps you work on control.
- Knee drops. This improves mobility, opens up the hips and by challenging the neutral pelvis, strengthens all-over core muscles.
- Single top taps. This exercise may look simple, but in reality, it challenges the abdominal, hip and glute muscles all at once.
- Single leg stretch. This exercise stretches the hips while challenging stability and works the lower ab muscles too.
- Frog. Benefits included toning the glutes and strengthening the inner thighs.
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Did you know that Pilates was born in prison and inspired by cats?