Pilates 101

The Five Basic Principles

1. Breathing
In through the nose, out through the mouth with pursed lips
Emphasis is on 3-D breath especially into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage, because these tend to be under utilized areas
Exhaling deeply can also help activate the deep support muscles by engaging the transversus abdominis
The transversus  abdominis helps  stabilize the lumbo-pelvic region, especially in neutral position.
The gentle contraction of the deep pelvic floor muscles also aids in firing the transversus abdominis
This breath pattern helps avoid unnecessary tension in the neck and shoulders
This breath pattern helps relaxation
The rib cage opens out and up during an inhale, promoting spinal extension and closes in and down during exhale, promoting spinal flexion

2. Pelvic Placement
In neutral pelvic placement, the natural lordotic curve of lumbar spine is present
ASIS and Pubic Symphysis lie approximately in a horizontal plane drawn parallel to the floor when lying supine
Neutral promotes good shock absorption and efficient movement patterns throughout body
Neutral is usually used during closed kinetic chain activities
Imprinted position is a slight posterior pelvic tilt with slight lumbar flexion
cannot be maintained and often used during open kinetic chain activities
Imprint involves shortening of obliques without activation of glutes
3. Rib Cage Placement
Emphasis is put on breathing into the posterior and lateral aspects of the rib cage
Abdominal wall attaches to the lower ribs. Be aware of maintaining abdominal engagement and not popping the ribs
Abdominals stabilize rib cage and therefore spine during movement of the arms
Used to keep the spine neutral and stable

Matt Class

4. Scapular Movement & Stabilization
Scapula lacks bony attachment to the ribs and spine (only attaching to clavicle), thereby providing mobility to the upper limb, which must be counterbalanced with stability
It is important to balance the surrounding muscles and to control the movement of the scapulae
The scapulae should lie flat on the rib cage and glide across it without winging
Protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, upward rotation and downward rotation are available movements
Stabilizing the scapulae is necessary during the initiation of every exercise

5. Head & Cervical Placement
Cervical spine should hold its natural curve (anterior convex) and the skull should be balanced directly above the shoulders in sitting or standing
Pads or pillows may be needed in supine or prone to prevent hyperextension of the cervical spine
Cervical spine should continue the line of the thoracic spine in neutral, during flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation
Cranio-vertebral flexion, flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the cervical spine, not jamming the chin into the chest, occurs initially when flexing the upper torso from a supine position
Use these methods to (dynamically) stabilize the cervical area and avoid strain




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