T-zone is one of the most important key elements in Pilates. You will have to hold your T-zone all time during your Pilates workout.
T-zone refers to lower abdominals (better to say “inner abdominals - transversus abdominis) and pelvic floor muscles.
If you imagine a letter T on your hips: a horizontal line from one hip bone to another and vertical line from pelvic bone towards this horizontal line – you will have your T-zone.
To t-zone or to activate your T-zone you should do two steps (before you do these steps put your two fingers inside of your hip bones – here you will feel a bit of tension later on – your T-zone).
There are two steps in order to switch your T zone on.
Step 1: Laying on your back with your knees bent and your fingers placed inside of your hip bones, draw your pelvic floor up. The easiest way to do this is to imagine going to the bathroom to pee and stop peeing (sorry for being straight forward but this is exactly how it works). You might be smiling right this moment but that’s the easiest way to describe the muscles you need to activate.
These are the same muscles that will activate if you sneeze, laugh or cough. So if you pretend laughing or sneezing, you would feel the muscles right away under your fingers.
For guys sometimes the following description works better: imagine going for a swim and water is pretty cold, as you are walking into the water and water reaches your hips…This is how you would feel, this is what actually happens when you draw your pelvic floor up. Now hold it.
Step 2: Think of the horizontal line of the letter T and try to flatten it towards the mat. The easiest way to achieve this is to think of “pulling” both hip bones towards each other, which is impossible but you will get this effect of flattening your “horizontal line”.
This is your t-zone. You should feel muscle tension under your fingers inside of your hip bones.
Try it again. Relax and repeat the steps. Can you feel it? Don’t worry if you can’t feel it right away – read everything again and try it again. Practice your T-zone as often as possible during the day. You can do it standing or sitting. You will notice that you will immediately stand or sit straight. You will eventually get your T-zone working.
You must have your T-zone active all the time while you are doing Pilates exercises and ideally as often as you possibly can during the day.
Some people say that you need to pull/draw your navel towards your spine. I prefer to have T-zone on, it makes more sense to have T-zone active as by doing this – you actually can breathe, if you try to draw your navel towards the spine – you will feel that breathing is not that easy. And we do need to breathe properly while doing Pilates workout.
Keep practicing your T-zone. I guarantee you will be able to feel it. If you can activate your T-zone – congratulations! Well done!
And keep practicing