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The Basic Principles | Pelvic Placement

STOTT PILATES emphasizes stabilization of the pelvis and lumbar spine (lower back) in either a neutral or an imprinted position:

Neutral Placement: Maintains the normal curve of the lower back. When lying on your back, front of hip bones and pubic bone should lie parallel to the mat, and your lower back should not be pressed into the mat. This is the most stable and optimal shock-absorbing position for your back.

Make sure you're not arching your back to achieve neutral alignment. While breathing and engaging abdominals in this position no strain should be felt through the lower back. If you feel muscle tension, shift the pelvis to a more comfortable position.

When to use: This is the ideal position when one or two feet are secure on the mat or other equipment.

Imprinted Position: The lower back is moving toward the mat. Avoid pressing your lower back all the way into the mat or tilting the pelvis too far by overusing the abs or glutes. Note that the amount of contact between the lower back and the mat is different for everyone.

When to use: An imprinted position should be used to ensure stability of the lower back when both feet are lifted off the mat.


Starting Position for Exercises 1-3Lying on back, pelvis and spine neutral. Knees bent, feet hip-distance apart on mat.
Arms long by sides, palms down.

1.Rocking Pelvis Rock pelvis, alternating arching lower back off floor and pressing lower back into floor. Neutral placement will be somewhere between the two.

2 Neutral to ImprintNote: Arms are raised in photos to show spinal position.
Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.
INHALE stay.

EXHALE contract abs
and imprint spine.

INHALE maintain imprinted position while inhaling.

EXHALE return to neutral.

3. Leg Lifts To prepare inhale, imprint lower back...
EXHALE lift one foot off mat, maintaining imprint.
INHALE return foot to mat.

Repeat with other leg.
Can also be done lifting legs consecutively (lift one leg, then other to join it).