How to Do the Pilates Abdominal Scoop Position

By Ellie Herman

You can do the Abdominal Scoop — a basic movement in Pilates — in any position, anywhere, anytime. It is easy and fun to do in your spare time, and it hides your spare tire! Basically, the Pilates abdominal scoop is the act of pulling your navel in toward your spine. Imagine that you’re zipping up a tight pair of pants or sucking in your gut; it’s like that.

What you’re doing when performing the Abdominal Scoop, anatomically, is engaging your deepest abdominal muscle (called your tranversus abdominis), which functions to hold your viscera in and, when contracted, decreases the diameter of the abdominal wall. When pulled taut, it works a lot like a drawstring around a pair of sweat pants.

The reason you scoop in Pilates is that your deep abdominals help to stabilize your back and tend to be weak in most people. The superficial abdominal muscle (rectus abdominis), on the other hand, tends to be a workaholic and takes over the work of the deeper layers if you’re not careful. So keep reminding your belly to pull in!

The Abdominal Scoop position in Pilates.
The Abdominal Scoop position in Pilates.