Core Engagement for Proper Form at the Barre | Don’t Tuck!

Working in a neutral spine with a neutral pelvis is the safest alignment when working at the Barre. This posture distributes weight correctly over the body resulting in an effective and injury free workout.

A tucked pelvic alignment is associated with poor posture, back pain and inefficient movement patterns. It’s a common cue in some Barre studios, but it de-stabilizes and restricts correct abdominal muscle engagement. This position also over-taxes the hip flexors and other muscles of the pelvic region

This is Joni Hyde from The Workout Barre and I want to talk to you about neutral spine and why it's so important to understand what that means and how to perform it at the barre. I'm gonna face forward, and first, I want you to take a look at my natural spine. You'll see I have a curve, and everyone has a natural curve in their spine, and it varies depending on your body type. And I'm going to just come up to a relevé. That's up on my toes, I'm going to bend my knees, and I'm going to stay in that natural spine for just a moment so you can see what that looks like. I have a curve in my back.

Now, what I'm gonna do to get into a neutral spine is I'm going to simply engage my transverse abdominis, that's that natural corset that we have around our body and it's the deepest inside muscle in our core. So I'm gonna engage it, I'm going to tighten up my corset, and that naturally brings my tailbone down just a bit, but then I need to get a little bit straighter to get in my neutral spine. Now, my tailbone is pointing straight down. It's like I'm moving up and down against a flat wall. I've got a little bit of what appears to be an arch, but that's my neutral spine. And the way I know it for sure is I could feel the weight is now over my thighs, rather than in my knees, when I'm in that natural spine, so it completely changes that.

One thing you want to avoid is a lot of barre instructors will tell you tuck, and it's extremely dangerous on the back. When I tuck forward, it actually causes kyphosis of the back and it puts on your weight on the knees, and it's also very bad on the hip flexors. So this position is dangerous and you want to avoid it. You want to just aim for that neutral. I'll demonstrate again with a squat. I'm going to face the barre again, I'm gonna pull back into a squat. And as you see, I'm in my natural spine. So again, first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna engage that transverse abdominis, and pull that corset in nice and tight, and it straightens my back out. And now I'm gonna just move a little bit forward with my pelvis so that my back is straight and my pelvis is pointing straight down. So now, when I move up and down, it's as if I'm moving up and down an imaginary wall. Again, that tuck pulls me even further forward and my low back looks very natural. It hurts, and also the weight is on my knees.

So avoid the tuck. Go for the neutral spine when you're at the barre and you'll get the safest and most effective workout.Watch this video to learn how to properly achieve the Neutral Spine position.