The Pelvis: Neutral, Imprint or In-between

By June Scharff

We have discussed the importance of Pilates training using neutral pelvis. However, there are several exercises that incorporate an imprinted pelvis or something in between.

The Imprint:


The pelvic curl for example, uses a deep pelvic imprint or posterior tilt. To imprint the pelvis you start in hook laying position (on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the mat), you then curl the tailbone up towards the belly button while keeping the lower back pressing heavy into the mat. The purpose is to open up the lower back and sacrum area and alleviate any lower back tightness before proceeding on to other exercises. The imprint/posterior tilt is most often used in exercises focusing on articulating the spine in which the effort is to create more space between the vertebrae.


The Slight Imprint:


The 100s is an example of an intermediate/advanced exercise in which the legs extend away from the body and are referred to as “long lever exercises.” These exercises use the in between, or a very slight imprint. One of the risks in doing long lever exercises is that as the legs extend away from the body, and the weight can cause an anterior tilt of the pelvis. That means the curve at the lower back would become increased and cause painful gripping if not harm to the lower back. In doing long lever exercises it is important to create a slight imprint of the pelvis. In doing the slight imprint, keep in mind a feeling of lengthening the tailbone toward your feet as you imprint. This will prevent the anterior tilt, and help to maintain the abdominal scoop to utilize the all layers of stomach muscles especially the deepest one, the transverse adominis.


Once you start using the appropriate pelvis position you will find how much easier your Pilates workout is, and how much faster you will improve. It’s pretty cool when it all starts coming together!