How To Find Neutral

How to find neutral, a helpful refresher

Keeping your spine and pelvis in neutral is the key to a successful Pilates workout. From a neutral position, whether you’re standing, lying on your front, back, side or sitting, your stabilising muscles are given the best chance possible to recruit correctly. 

So, in order to allow your lower abs, glutes and hamstrings to strengthen and work more effectively, let’s enjoy a refresher on how to find -- and then maintain -- a neutral spine.

Start on your back with your arms reaching long by your side. Palms facing down. With your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, firmly place your feet on the mat with weight evenly distributed through both feet. Keep your heels in line with your sit bones -- the aim is to keep your feet hip-width apart and your hips, knees and second-and-third toes in one strong line.

Now that you’re set up, it’s time to focus on the correct alignment of your spine and pelvis.

A useful cue to keep your spine working towards a neutral position, is to think of trying to reach the crown of your head and your sit bones away from each other, this will help to lengthen your spine. Place your hands into a triangle shape and place them flat across your pubic bone and hips, the aim is to have your hands sit parallel to the mat. While you’re there, imagine your pelvis is a bowl holding water. When your pelvis is in neutral the water’s surface is completely level and still in the ‘bowl’. As for the positioning of your lower back, imagine a small space between your lower back and the mat big enough to fit your fingers through.

Neutral should be a comfortable position. While it might not feel natural when you’re starting out on your Pilates journey, the more you focus on maintaining this position the more your body will recognise it and your body will be better for it. Promise!