POP Goes the Weasel
Or as we say in Pilates class, POP goes the imprinted spine…
Okay, maybe we don’t say that, but we DO talk about keeping the natural space under our back in place or lengthening our lower back into an imprinted position.
What IS IT with the neutral and imprint focus in Pilates?
Why does your Pilates instructor keep talking about that?
Here’s the deal:
The optimal and most efficient way to work your body is with spine and pelvis in neutral. If your pelvis is neutral, it allows your spine to be neutral, therefore, it is holding the posture firmly in place.
So, then, why aren’t we all working from a neutral spine?
1) The challenge is that there are different positions that our pelvis “lives in” based on our life’s experience. For example, most women who have given birth to a child will have a tucked pelvis which can cause weaknesses and deny the spine the support of its natural curve. Or, the opposite; I did gymnastics when I was younger, so my lower lumbar spine is extremely curved; holding imprint is very difficult for this reason.
2) Additionally 75% - 85% Americans have or will experience back pain and/or injury, which may alter the pelvic position as the body compensates for the weaknesses.
3) And, lastly, many of us lack the abdominal strength to work our bodies in a neutral position.
If you would like to develop that healthy spine and correct imbalances in your posture, start all Pilates moves with an imprinted spine. Gradually test your abdominal strength by holding neutral for a few reps. Be knowledgeable of your own body. Watch for a straining feeling in your lower back. Talk to your Pilates instructor about modifications to challenge as well as keep your spine safe. You can also ask him or her to give you an analysis on your posture.
***If you've been instructed by a Doctor or Health Professional to maintain an imprinted spine, follow that direction always.
· 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.