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Why a neutral spine and pelvis?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

When a new client comes to me to talk about doing Pilates, my eye starts scanning through their bodies visual daily habits, movement patterns and their spine and pelvis. This is of course, if my eye hasn’t already gone there.

Although there is a time to work out of a neutral pelvis and spine (and it absolutely necessary to move through the different ranges for functional movement) we encourage neutral as much as we can while doing Pilates. Our hope, as instructors, is to retrain our client's bodies to live in this position as much as they can when leaving their Pilates class. A neutral pelvis refers to the boney structures in our body and it’s exactly the same in every person’s body. Certainly the position of each person’s pelvis and spine is not the same, nor getting to this position. A neutral pelvis is when the alignment of both ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) and the Pubic Bone (known as the Pubic Symphysis) are in line with each other in the coronal plane when erect. The coronal plane is the plane that divides you in half creating front and back, also known as anterior and posterior. In addition to this, the front hip bones (ASIS), and the back hip bones known as the PSIS (Posterior Superior Iliac Spine) are on the same transverse plane. The transverse plane divides the body from top to bottom. The neutral position of the pelvis is a base point and reference used to compare and describe all other positions. It is interesting to recognise that when the spine is in neutral, so is the pelvis. But there are times when the pelvis is in neutral and the spine is not. Many muscles function in a “coupling” pattern that acts on the pelvic complex. Here they are spinal flexors, pelvic floor, spinal extensors, spinal lateral flexors and rotators, hip flexors, hip extensors, hip adductors, hip abductors, hip external rotators, and hip internal rotators. Balanced development of these muscle groups is fundamental in aiming for ideal posture, functional movement and our much desired neutral spine and pelvis.

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