It is key to emphasize stabilization of the pelvis and
lumbar spine both statically and dynamically in all
positions and throughout all movements. The two
positions most often used are neutral and imprint.
In a neutral position, the natural anteriorly convex
curve of the lumbar spine is present. In most cases,
when lying supine, the triangle formed by the ASIS
and the symphysis pubis should be parallel to the
Mat. This is the most stable and optimal shockabsorbing
position and a good place from which
to promote efficient movement patterns.
Neutral alignment should not be achieved by
forcibly arching the back, but rather by allowing
the weight of the sacrum to rest on the Mat. With
the transversus abdominis engaged, no strain
should be felt through the spinal extensors in the
lumbar area. If muscular tension occurs, shift the
pelvis slightly toward a posterior placement. It is
more important for the lumbar area not to strain
than for the ASIS and symphysis pubis to lie in the
same horizontal plane. For example, someone with
large gluteals might actually create an exaggerated
lordosis in the lumbar spine by trying to have the
ASIS and symphysis pubis lie in the same plane.
An imprinted position combines a slight posterior
pelvic tilt with slight lumbar flexion. The normal
curve of the lumbar spine lengthens toward
flexion by engaging the oblique abdominals to
approximate the pelvis and the rib cage anteriorly.
When supine, the pubic bone may be slightly higher
than the ASIS. The pelvis is not so tilted that the
sacrum curls off or loses contact with the Mat.
It is not necessary to press the lower back all the
way into the Mat or to tuck under by overusing
the rectus abdominis and gluteal muscles as this
may decrease stability.
The degree of contact between the lumbar spine
and the Mat will differ from person to person.
An imprinted position should be used to ensure
stability of the pelvis and lumbar spine, if neutral
alignment cannot be stabilized. When there is
weakness in the obliques and other abdominals,
placing them in this slightly shortened position can
help maintain their engagement. This will often
be useful when certain postural tendencies are
present (for example, lordosis). When the lower
limbs are secure on the Mat or other apparatus in
a closed kinetic chain, the pelvis and lumbar spine
are ideally neutral.
Performing an open kinetic chain exercise with the
pelvis and lumbar spine in an imprinted position
will increase stabilization. Once enough strength
has been developed through the abdominal
muscles to achieve stability, a neutral position can
be maintained in an open kinetic chain.
Experimenting with pelvic placement
Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral. Knees
flexed, feet abducted hip-distance apart on the
Mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.
Rock pelvis through anterior and posterior tilts to
explore the range of movement. Neutral position
will be somewhere between the two.
Test stability in a neutral position by sliding
one foot along the Mat, then drawing it back in.
Limit the range of motion to where the lumbopelvic
region can be stabilized.
|To slide foot away.
Neutral to Imprint
|Maintain a neutral alignment.
|Contract abdominals and imprint.
|Maintain an imprinted position.
|Return to neutral.
The transversus abdominis remains engaged
throughout while the obliques shorten during
imprint, and lengthen during return to neutral.
Try lifting one or two feet off the floor to test
the stability of the imprint.