Here’s the situation…..In Pilates there is two ways for your pelvis to be either neutral or imprinted.
· Neutral Pelvis is the alignment of the ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine – aka Hip Points) and the Pubic Bone in line with each other in the Coronal Plane, which allows for a neutral spine, a spine that honors the natural curvature of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
· Imprinted Pelvis allows the ASIS (aka hip points) to be lower that your pelvic bone; it is the act of using the muscles to draw the lower spine down towards the floor, therefore imprinting the spine.
So why is this question so important?
The optimal and most efficient way to work your body – spine and pelvis is in neutral. If your pelvis is neutral it allows your spine to be neutral, in it’s natural form.
Why aren’t we all working from a Neutral Spine?
Here’s the challenge there are different positions that our pelvis” lives in” based on our life experience : Anterior Tilted Pelvis, maybe Neutral or Posterior Tilted Pelvis.
Additionally 75% - 85% Americans have or will experience back pain and/or injury, which may alter the pelvic position. And lastly many of us lack the abdominal strength to work our bodies in a neutral position.
Here’s how to work towards a healthy spine. I suggest when beginning Pilates start with an imprinted spine as your strength, knowledge and ability improves move into a neutral pelvis. If you've been instructed by a Doctor or Health Profession to maintain an imprinted spine, follow that direction always.
Here are some pictures to illustrate the positions
Let’s go back to last weeks ab curl and practice it with an imprinted spine and with a neutral spine.
Exercise - Ab Curl/ Ab Curl with rotation target - abdominals including obliques.
Supine Position - on your back with your knees bent soles of the feet on the floor, hands behind your head, shoulder blades pulling down your back
Imprinted Pelvis Movement – Exhale, engage your abdominals, allow the abs to pull your spine down to the floor, lift your chest curling your head, neck and shoulders forward, gaze at your belly button, release by lowering down. Repeat 6 times.
Neutral Pelvis Movement – Exhale, engage your abdominals, pull them into your spine and give them a little lift up into the ribs not allowing your pelvis to change shape, lift your chest curling your head, neck and shoulders forward, gaze at your belly button, release by lowering down. Repeat 6 times.
Try your Ab Curl with Rotation with an Imprinted Spine and a Neutral Spine.
Ab Curl with Rotation - repeat movement instructions above. At the top of the movement rotate your left armpit toward right hip, keep lifting the chest and rotate right armpit toward left hip, return to center and lower down.
Be careful when practicing each exercise not to clench your glutes or tuck your hips under. The movement should be muscular.
Happy Practice! Let me know how you do, I'm always interested.