STUDIO NEWS - Neutral Spine & Neutral Pelvis Defined

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Neutral Spine & Neutral Pelvis
You may have heard these terms used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.  A Neutral Pelvis, to a Pilates practitioner, is defined as when the pubis symphysis and the top, front of the pelvis (the ASIS) are in the same plane.  If you’re standing, it’s a vertical plane, if you’re lying down, it’s a horizontal plane.  You accomplish it by lengthening through your lower abdominals, pushing the pelvis slightly forward to drop the pubis into alignment with the ASIS.  You will have an anterior curve in your lower (lumbar) spine.  There will be space between your lumbar spine and the floor, carriage, wall, etc.  Will you be in neutral pelvis when you are in neutral spine?  Yes and no.  It depends.  You can be in neutral pelvis & be in neutral spine.  But you can also be in neutral pelvis and not be in neutral spine – as in when you are flexing (rounding forward) or extending (arching back) your upper-middle spine.  That’s why you learn to do ab preps & breast stroke preps when you first learn Pilates – learning to use your abs to mobilize your upper-middle spine while using your core & lower abs to stabilize your pelvis.
Neutral Spine simply defined is when your head lines up with your shoulders, which line up with your hips.  To determine if you’re in neutral spine, in a sitting or standing position, put a dowel rod or a foam roller against your back.  It should touch 3 places:  your head, the mid-back and the sacrum (if your tailbone, the coccyx touches, there’s something else going on).  If your head isn’t touching, you may be head forward & have difficulty bringing your head into alignment, but you can try by engaging the back of your neck and reach the back of your head toward the dowel rod or roller.  If your mid-back isn’t touching, engage your abs, especially your external obliques, and wrap your rib cage, pulling the front of the rib cage into your spine.  If your sacrum doesn’t touch, there may be something going on with your pelvis, but more than likely your mid-back is rounded forward.  Think about lengthening your spine, long line from head to tail.  With the help of another person, try the same thing in plank, either on your forearms or palms.  Admittedly, some people who are quite head-forward will not be able to get their heads against the dowel rod or roller. But in a supine position (lying face up), they ought to be able to.
Then see if you can do push-ups in neutral spine either on the balls of your feet or in a modified position on your knees.  If you lose contact in any of those 3 places, think about what I just said.  And to answer the question, will you be in neutral pelvis when you’re in neutral spine? You SHOULD be!
If you’re interested in learning more about neutral pelvis & neutral spine or having a postural analysis done, please contact me and set up an appointment!



Men & Pilates
Even though Pilates was developed by a man many, many years ago, most people have often assumed it was a type of exercise for women. That is changing, as you will read in this article.

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Video Highlight - Half Roll Back
One of the best & most basic exercises in the Mat repertoire, it prepares you to accomplish a Roll Up. But more importantly, it teaches you control as you being to use your abs & hip extensors to roll the pelvis back away from the legs, reaching the lower back toward the mat.
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Half Roll Back
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