What I Wish People Knew About: Neutral, Imprint & Pelvic Tilt

Part 1 of “The What, Why & How of Imprint”

The term ‘neutral’, ‘imprint’, and ‘pelvic tilt’ are being used more often in the fitness realm but not everyone understands the layers of those definitions, or how is may be used out of context. Sometimes the meaning and placement of a lengthened spine are cued by the instructor so beautifully and eloquently only to hear someone reply back “so do you want me to push my back to the mat?” When you discover the subtle ways of the spine and the way the whole body works together, you will also find a body that moves efficiently and happily.

First and foremost: you are not anchoring or holding the position of the pelvis but are working in opposition to maintain dynamic stability. Muscles spend all day in various forms of contraction; they don’t just shorten and hold the body. Whether you are doing Pilates, Barre, or Yoga exercises, you are constantly finding oppositional forces or two-way pulls of the body.

Think of your glutes (AKA backside muscles) lengthening the low back, not tucking it under which contributes to back pain and prolapsed pelvic floor. The tailbone reaches down just enough to help you engage the pelvic floor muscles. A slight lengthening of the low back (lumbar spine) is NOT the same as a pelvic tilt. The purpose of lengthening the lumbar spine is to open your back and sacrum area to alleviate any lower back tightness and maintain this muscular support throughout the exercise you are trying to do, such as Pilates Hundreds or Barre Attitude Leg Lifts. We want you to create space between the vertebrae and develop deeper muscle tissues by maintaining this throughout the class.

When you get it, it really works!! You are a system of tissues that connect to each other with the purpose of being mobile and have the awareness of how you are moving. The muscles that connect to your pelvis and work in unison are your abdominals, gluteals, psoas, adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, spinal extensors, quadrus lumborum, and so many more. When they work together, the body in strengthening in balance with each other. It takes a lot to train all the muscles to work together. That is why people do Pilates numerous times a week and continue for life. It is a dance performed within the body itself.

 

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