Lithe Method’s seven anatomically sound basic principles form the foundation of our Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting technique. Because they assist the body in moving through our exercises safely and effectively, each one should be referenced and reinforced.
Certain principles are uniquely tailored to Lithe such as our Lithe breath, pelvic alignment, and proper hand placement with our Higher Power band system. Some overlap anatomical principles in other movement disciplines. At Lithe, we teach these principles in our own unique style, but the anatomy behind them is universal.
We've talked about breathing, cervical spine alignment, shoulder stabilization, and ribcage alignment. This week we dive into pelvic placement.
At Lithe, we reference three placements of the pelvis: neutral, imprint, and tuck. Understanding pelvic placement is essential for Lithing correctly, and pelvic placement is referenced and reinforced throughout our workouts. The three pelvic placements described here don't look identical on every body.
Neutral refers to the natural position of the pelvis and spine. When the pelvis is in neutral, the pubis symphysis (pubic bone) and ASIS (hip bones) are on a level plane. The spine maintains its natural curvature. The spine is in its strongest position when its three curves are naturally aligned. We often work in neutral in order to strengthen and prepare the body for our natural, everyday movement. In neutral, the abdominal muscles and other muscles around the pelvis can be engaged. However the pelvis remains in its natural position.
You may hear instructors use the image of a martini glass balancing perfectly on the pelvis when in a supine position on the mat. Some exercises will always be performed in neutral. In others, neutral will be offered as a more challenging variation. For example, certain ab exercises that are typically performed in imprint can be safely performed in neutral by a client with superior abdominal strength.
Imprint is an abdominal contraction resulting in a very slight posterior tilt of the pelvis. This tilt should only be 5-10 degrees. The pelvic tilt should always be a result of abdominal engagement paired with breath. Imprint stabilizes the pelvis and protects the back during ab work and other exercises. When you think of the martini glass while moving from neutral to imprint, you tip the glass just enough that the contents of the glass spill towards your chest.
When in imprint, the tilt of the pelvis causes a slight lessening of the lumbar curve, however the back should not flatten into the mat. Imprint does not look identical on every body and will vary depending on individual spine curvature.
In tuck, we take imprint a step further by engaging not only the abs, but also the large muscle groups of quads, glutes, and hamstrings (the fat burners!).
We only tuck in a few positions throughout our workouts. A few examples include during modified bridge/butt work, the standing wide second position, standing tall in liberty at the barre, and standing up in a lunge. The tucked position works our fat burners and stabilizes the pelvis, but it is not healthy for the body to constantly work in tuck. Most Lithers often try to work in an over-tucked position. In an over-tuck, the pelvis is unnaturally pressed forward, the lumbar curve is completely flattened, and the hip flexors shorten and tense. This may be a result of their experience with barre-based workouts that promote a more exaggerated tuck or they may just be exaggerating the movement with the goal of increasing their burn.
Lithers also have a tendency to allow the chest and shoulders to collapse forward towards the pelvis during a tuck. This almost always happens when clients are overtucking as a result of their spinal flexion, but may occur during a proper tuck as well.
Lithe instructor Meg G. in FP Movement in tuck via Dom