Tutorial #2435

The Front of the Back

15 min - Tutorial


Learn how you can feel a stomach massage in every exercise with Jennifer Golden. She explores the concept of drawing up the front of your back so you can find support on the spinal level to stimulate the viscera of your body. She first shows it on the skeletal model, then she demonstrates using Pilates movements so you can see how to apply it to your practice.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Dec 20, 2015
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Hello, this is Jennifer Golden Zuman and I'm going to share with you just a little bit of anatomy today. Um, today we're going to talk about a region of the body that I like to call the front of the back. So it's a little bit of an odd expression, but let me explain what I mean. We've got our friend of the front, which we're all pretty familiar with from our pilates exercises. Really our abdominals, we've got the back of our back, but then we've also got the front, the front of our back. And this is where a lot of action happens during Pilati is during everyday movement. So I think it's a really important place to really understand. So I am going to identify this area now truly as our core, we have come to talk about our core as muscles, like our abdominals. But I'm going to say that those muscles support the core and the muscles that are truly at the core are those that are at the front of the back.

So we're talking about our, so as muscle, which is right here, and I'll talk about in a little more detail in a moment. We're talking about our diaphragm and then we're also talking really about the muscles of the pelvic floor. There's a couple of things to look at when we're talking about this general region right here. We've got the muscles like I just mentioned, so starting with discussion of our, so as our, so as muscle, which is attaching to each of these lumbar vertebrae here, at least are so as major and then it's running down through the inside of the pelvis, the back of the pelvis and connecting right down here to this bony part of the inner thigh. And we have our ILIAC. This, our ILIAC is right here. Or if you're in Europe, you may hear it called Iliacus, so don't be confused if you're listening in different parts of the world. So that is going to come down as well. This one lines this inner ridge of the pelvis and it converges with this, so as muscle to form a common tendon and attach right there into that lesser trow cantor. It's called, which is this bony protrusion.

This one out here that you can feel it. You stick out your hip, that's the greater trow canter, and on the inside you've got the lesser one right there. That's where those attach deep up in the inner thigh area. There's also a muscle called. So as in minor psoas minor is a, is a longer tendon, less sort of muscle meat. Although, um, I hear that it's from an evolutionary perspective becoming sort of extinct, but I don't know, we'll have to ask some of those experts to prove that for us or disprove. But that one just attaches from these top two lumbar vertebrae and runs down to meet up and join in with the rest of them.

So then we've got our diaphragm as the next part of this muscle complex. We're going to talk about the diaphragm is like an umbrella up in here. So a lot of us talk about the diaphragm and we talk about breathing. I want you to think about the three dimensional quality of it, how it attaches up here at the back of the sternum, and it attaches on the inner surface of all of these ribs here. And then it attaches down here.

So this is the region that's a big deal for what we're talking about today. I'm going to reel myself back into topic two, the front of the back. So the important place that we're discussing today is where this diaphragm attaches to these back ribs and to the spine, right at the same place that this. So as attaches up here, so we've got this beautiful muscular complex rate here. Now the musculature is only one component of the front of the back that I want you to consider.

The second component is the viscera or the organs. These are an undeniable aspect of this core or this front of the back. So laying on top of these muscles here, right on top of these muscles, we've got our kidneys protected here by these ribs in the back. We've got a big liver right here. We've got our stomach and our pancreas in our spleen.

We've got all of our intestinal content all inside here. So all of this is taking up the space between the front of our front and the back of our back. It's all filled with our visceral content. Now there's one more component that I want to talk about. The musculature, the viscera, and what makes it all connected and complete is the Fascia.

So our fashion component allows all of these B to B enveloped and connected. So we don't just have the kidneys just sitting right here on this. So as they're not just, they're not just floating in space right here. What they are is wrapped in a fashional package and then they're, they're really fashionably adhered. So this is going to be, this is going to be my fascia right now. So I'm going to talk about a fascial structure, which is called the transverse Sallus Fascia.

If that anatomical language doesn't make sense to you, don't worry about it. I'm going to show you what it means. And you don't need to remember the word, but transfer Salus Fascia is sometimes called that name. Um, but there is some confusion. Occasionally when you're reading different texts or hearing different people talk. All of this nomenclature, what we call different fashional structures in the body is really at Ah, at it's moment right now in anatomical history and this is currently being debated and discussed and everyone's calling it different things. But we'll, we'll converge and we'll find some common language. Right now I'm going to call it transmitter Salus Fascia, but sometimes it's referred to by its region, like the Iliacus Fascia or the diaphragmatic Fascia in dissection.

It can be seen that all of these are quite cohesive. So what you can notice is a fascicle sheath, which is connecting right up here to the diaphragm. Imagine this not only on both sides, but actually kind of running across, so attaching up to the diaphragm and actually enveloping and sort of folding over our, so as and wrapping itself right in to the Iliacus and then even continues down into the leg. So this Fascia forms a compartment in the abdomen. This compartment is where this, these kidneys are going to be attached, but it's also where our Oregon bag, so our organs aren't just floating in space.

Our organs are also in a bag and that bag is called the peritoneum. That is, don't confuse that with Para Niamh, which is down there. Peritoneum is the bag around our organs. So you've got your, you've got your organs, they're wrapped in their bag. Then you've got this transverse sal is Fascia, and then you've got your transverse abdominis. So our deepest abdominal muscle and those are all connected together in which they can slide a bit and connect every fiber.

So essentially as we breathe, this creates some pressure chambers in the body. So this right here is going to be my abdominal Oregon bag right here, filled with organs. Our diaphragm is in the middle. Maybe I'll just kind of, let's be, let's be experimental here. Let's see what happens and what this looks like. Let's put this diaphragmatic sheath over it. And then we've got our thoracic bag up in here.

So this is where our organs of the chest are and our organs of the abdomen. And our diaphragm is in the middle. So as we breathe in, as we inhale, this is just giving me trouble. I'm just going to take this part out. As we breathe and we inhale and put pressure on here, that increases the pressure in our abdominal bag as we exhale and the musculature and connective tissue around the waist supports that puts the pressure back up into the chest to allow us to breathe. So as we are breathing, we are constantly having this interplay of pressures in the abdomen.

Now why is that important to understand? That is important because it brings up the idea that every single exercise in the [inaudible] sequence, even with traditional work as well as contemporary work, there should be a stomach massage going on. So that idea of massaging the stomach is drawing this fashional sheath up and down is massaging the organs and releasing the adhesions between each organ. And it's allowing our body to activate this musculature around the core in a way that supports resilient activity in the abdomen. So to simplify this for Polonius terms, what I want you to think about as you take your exhalation is as though you are stretching a fashional sheath up the front of your back.

So imagine this sheath running through here feeling you're feeling your abdomen in the front and feeling your spine in the back. And as you take a breath in, the diaphragm is descending, increasing the volume in the abdomen, and even bringing pressure down into the pelvic floor, which is good. As you exhale, if you want to feel like a sheath stretching up, pulling up a strapping tape up the front of your, so as, as you exhale from inside up, then you can feel a support at the spinal level. We, if we bring our focus to the spinal level instead of out here at the abdominals, we're really creating a structure of support in the spine and stimulating the viscera. Just like Mr [inaudible] seems to have intended us to do. I'm going to demonstrate this with two exercises, the first of which is fine stretch. So I'm just gonna Scoot this stuff out of the way here a little bit. He can just be my spectator and even just sitting with your legs out or you can even sit with your legs down. Um, even hanging on a chair, when we fold forward, I want to honor this activity inside the abdomen.

So this means we want to avoid going like this. Okay? Where we compressed down on the Oregon bag. But if we pull up the front of the back, then we're taking the diaphragm and we are gliding it over the Oregon bag [inaudible] and then that pressure interplay brings us back up. So a lot of times when we do like a roll back or a roll down or something that reflecting the spine, it's tempting to go like this, right?

So what's happening when we do this or that, or when we try to roll back and we end up like this, what's happening during those, the lack of integrity in the front of the back. So when you're going to roll back, you take a deep breath in and you feel that up the front of the spine on the exhale. Like you pull that strapping tape up the front of your spine instead of the front of your front, then you're allowing space to glide with your organs [inaudible] so this is one way to look at it. What's happening from the thorax as we do at the second place to look at it is what's happening with the legs because so as pelvis sacrum, that's another tutorial that I will leave to somebody else because I can get carried away on that. So now I'm going to do some leg slides to help demonstrate how this front of the back also supports our movement when we're doing just a regular hip extension.

So if I'm lying on my back, if I'm trying to stabilize from the front of my front, I'm going to end up going like this [inaudible] the festival. Great. Because I'm pulling my ribs down, I'm dragging my neck forward. And to be honest, I'm just putting pressure into my abdomen. So when I think about that strapping tape up the front of my back, I feel it draw up. And as I stretch my leg away, I'm literally stretching the two ends of that sheath. [inaudible] I'll do that again and I'll actually bring this arm up just so you can see. Do you see how I don't have to change the shape of my spine? I'm just making it nice and Taut.

[inaudible] this is essentially what I need to stand with the supported pelvis or to do any other exercise that involves a hip extension. So as you do your exercises now and on for the rest of your life, start exploring this idea of drawing up the front of your back and just see what that brings for you.


4 people like this.
Loved it! Jennifer, thank you for your clear and delightful presentation. I hope you do more anatomy tutorials like this.
1 person likes this.
Really interesting! I'd like to see more of these contents.
Thank you Jennifer!
1 person likes this.
Great information and well presented. Thank you. Keep these tutorials coming!
4 people like this.
WOWWOWWOW! This changes everything! So rich!

And I *think* I can see how this anatomically relates to Kathy's song taught by Cara Reeser.

Great reference!!!
Thanks, Cheryl! At risk of being obvious, I could go on and on about anatomy and movement!
Guiseppe, I agree! I'm so glad Pilates Anytime is integrating these kinds of tutorials in the programming. So happy to be a part of it!
Thanks Bonnie! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Miriam, I am so glad to hear it has brought you new discoveries! Keep exploring!! Yes, I relate it to "Kathy's Song", too.
1 person likes this.
HI Jennifer, Great stuff, but instead of the balls and bands why not look at real bodies? Seeing the "bags" in the lab was eye opening. No body ever told me there where "bags" in there.
Jeannene, I too am all for seeing "the bags" as one might in an anatomy lab (I've personally participated in Gil Hedley's lab 8 times... so far ), however, the very nature of a tutorial on our website is to inform all Pilates enthusiasts, not just teachers, with the information offered. Despite our (yours and my) affinity for wanting to know what is "really" going on inside the body, I am certain Jennifer is following our instructions to keep the information available to all of our members, including those who may not be as inclined to see the "bags" actually.

That said, I really appreciate your feedback and will think more seriously about including a workshop on anatomy (with pictures)! Thank you!

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