How to Find Neutral in Pilates

Finding your neutral is an essential part of Pilates, as it is often the position from which you embark on other exercises. The neutral helps ensure accurate performance of Pilates exercises, as well as protecting your spine.


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    Lie on your back. If you need neck or head support, place a thin cushion under your head.
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    Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or reformer. Your feet should be parallel, toes facing straight forward, and in line with your hips.
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    Relax your arms to the sides. There should not be any tension present in your shoulders, so remind yourself to relax them.
    • You can place your hands on your abdomen if you wish to feel the effects of the movements on your abdominal muscles and region.
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    Feel for the natural curve in the small of your back. It should not be too wide nor should your back be flat against the floor. Another person should only be able to pass a flattened hand under this curve.
    • The extent to which some of your spine does not touch the floor varies from person to person, depending on your spine curvature and other physical elements.
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    Draw in your abdominal muscles. They should come gently up toward your spine without moving the spine or pelvis. Hold them tight and firmly.
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    Proceed to performing exercises. After any exercise started from neutral, always return to it. Check that you can feel the slight curve in the small of your back, your spine long and relaxed.


  • The pelvic tilt is often associated with the neutral but is a separate positioning.
  • It is a good idea to get initial instruction in Pilates, so that you're aware of what to look for and how it should feel.


  • Know your physical health before commencing any new exercise; talk to your physician or physiotherapist about particular concerns.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor mat or other suitable surface for lying on

Article Info

Categories: Pilates