Is there an ideal posture to improve core muscle activation ?

Pelvic neutral or the neutral pelvis  might be a term you’ve never heard before, unless you’re a Pilates guru. Its a simple way to be able to achieve the “ideal posture” or athletic posture.

However it’s very important as a starting position for most exercises especially in Pilates and core stability exercises.

Posture and pelvic tilt / neutral position

When thinking about pelvic neutral, all we’re talking about is ensuring the positioning of your pelvis and lower back are in the optimal spot for core activation. This is  essentially halfway position between anterior and posterior tilt.

Everyone has a slightly different pelvic neutral due to the differences in body shape and presentation. The most important part to think about for pelvic neutral is having your pelvis  in an optimal position with your lower back (not overly arched or curled).

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Anterior pelvic tilt.

The most common pelvic position we see in the clinic. Often confused as being a swayback posture by people  and often referred to as the ducks bum posture ! It is characterized by :

  • Weak abdominals
  • Weak glutes
  • Tight / overactive  hip flexors
  • Tight / overactive back extensors

Posterior pelvic tilt.

The opposite to the anterior tilt, characterized by :

  • Weak / underactive low back extensors
  • Weak / underactive hip flexors
  • Tight / overactive abdominals
  • Tight/overactive glutes

neutral pelvis / ideal posture and core muscle strength.

I’m sure we’ve all seen those people in the gym who have to fully lean backwards and arch their back to get the weights over their head. Not saying this is terrible for everyone, but learning to find that neutral position and then keep it in that position while exercising has the following benefits:

  • You’ll increase contribution from your core.
  • In time this will lead to better results from the exercises
  • Can very important for injury prevention, especially at the low back and shoulder.

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How do i find a neutral pelvis for ideal posture ?

Here’s a great video we made give you a guide to find pelvic neutral:

Learning this can be awkward and quite difficult initially. The easiest way to learn pelvic neutral is as follows

  •  Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  • Slowly tuck your pelvis backwards like you’re trying to flatten your back into the floor.
  • Tilt your pelvis forwards until your back lifts off the floor and arches.
  • Do a few repetitions of these, and once you’re used to the movement, try and find the mid position between the two.
  • This is your pelvic neutral. There should be a very small gap between your lower back and the floor.

How to find Neutral Pelvis in sitting and standing

To further train pelvic neutral, you need to be able to do it in all positions. Like the example above, we can do the exact same movement in sitting and standing.

However, there are more parts of the body we have to be aware of.

  • Sit or stand tall by  bringing you chest forward and up.
  • Standing make sure you soften your knees
  • Tilt the pelvis again forwards and backwards until you find the neutral position.

This will be the starting position for exercises such as bicep curls, squats, overhead press, deadlifts and many others.

If you want better results from Pilates and core strength exercises watch the video, give it a go and you’ll see a huge difference in your ability to find your ideal posture in no time.

Talk to you later,


Rani Goulding - Arana Hills Physiotherapy


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