How to Do the Pilates Abdominal Position

The Pilates Abdominal Position — a basic movement in Pilates — describes the placement of the upper body when performing the lion’s share of Pilates abdominal exercises.

Lie on your back and lift your head off the mat just high enough that your shoulder blades are just off the mat; you can imagine that the base of your sternum is anchored down to the floor and the back of your neck is lengthening.

The Pilates Abdominal Position.
The Pilates Abdominal Position.

Maintaining this position is essential when performing abdominal exercises. If you allow the head to drop back, you’ll begin to feel fatigue in the neck, and you won’t be using your abdominals as much. The upper abdominals should be working to maintain this position (and that’s where you should feel the burn).

If you’re very tight in your neck or upper back, holding the Pilates Abdominal Position will be very difficult. Don’t give up! Many people have a hard time with this, so just do the best you can, and eventually you’ll loosen up. You still get the benefits of the exercise even if you’re not in the classic Pilates Abdominal Position.

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