Exercises To Improve Your Tone

Posted by Stuart Herbert @ 5:07 PM, Wed 21 Jan 09

Filed under: Technique

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It’s been a while since I’ve published an article on here. Work has been manic to say the least. But an article in today’s Guardian has prompted me to write something :)

In “Intimate Secrets of Sarkozy’s fitness regime“, Guardian feature writer Jon Henley describes how pelvic floor exercises have helped the French President Nicholas Sarkozy lose weight and girth. Jon seems to think this sort of exercise is “innovative”. Pregnant women everywhere, pilates devotees and Tai Chi players know better :)

This exercise, known as pelvic floors, is designed to tone your core muscles, not just the perineum as suggested by Jon in his article. It improves the strength of your muscles around your centre of gravity, reduces (and often completely prevents) incontinence as you get older, and has a ‘corseting’ effect in narrowing the waist (provided you get rid of the love handles layered on top!). And, although it’s not something one normally talks about, it really does improve the sex lives of both sexes too.

In our school of Tai Chi, we do these exercises in three ways:

  1. After lowering the centre of gravity, but before starting the Salute, we do 15 reps of the pelvic floor exercises. For each rep, we breath in (down into the belly) and relax, and then breath out and pull up at the same time. With each rep, we move from one point of the microcosmic orbit to the next.
  2. During the form, we pull up the entire time.
  3. After finishing the closing Salute, we do 15 more reps of the pelvic floor exercise. For each rep, we breath in (into the top of the chest) and pull up, and then breath out and relax at the same time. With each rep, we move from one point of the microcosmic orbit to the next.

Sadly, the Guardian’s article doesn’t have comments enabled, but with a bit of luck Jon has a Google Alert set up to track the propagation of his work around the ‘net, and will find this article eventually :)

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Thank you for reading about my experiences and opinions on studying and teaching the gentle art of Tai Chi Chuan.

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