Pilates Terms

Get ready for Anatomy 101. Pilates exercises inspire a deeper body awareness, and that means getting to know various body parts and positions by name.

Here are a few terms you may or may not be familiar with but well may hear in a Pilates video, group class or personal training session.

Abduction: a muscle contraction that draws away from the midline of the body.

Adduction: a muscle contraction that draws inward to the midline of the body.

Bicep: the large upper arm muscle that flexes the forearm.

Cervical: having to do with the neck; the cervical vertebrae are the top seven bones in the spinal column supporting the neck and head.

Coccyx: the tailbone.

Concentric: shortening the muscle.

Disk: a pad of shock-absorbing cartilage between two vertebrae.

Eccentric: lengthening the muscle.

Extension: straightening out the limb with muscles.

Flexion: bending the limb with muscles.

Hyperextension: straightening out the limb beyond its normal range of motion.

Neutral Spine: keeping the natural curve in your spine during exercise rather than flattening it out or pressing it into the floor.

Ligament: a band of fibrous tissue that connects bones or cartilage at a joint or supports an organ.

Lumbar: the five large vertebrae in the lower back.

Pelvis: the lower part of the abdomen located between the hip bones, the basin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column.

Powerhouse: Joseph Pilates' term for the core region of the torso, including the abdominal muscles, pelvic girdle, buttocks and lower back.

Prone: lying on your front, face down.

Quadriceps: the large extensor muscle at the front of the thigh.

Rectus Abdominus: the section of muscles running down the stomach that, when toned, give you those flat washboard abs.

Rotation: twisting around a central axis.

Sacrum: the five vertebrae above the tailbone and at the top of the pelvis, usually fused together into a triangular bone.

Scapulae: shoulder blades.

Spine: the back bone, a series of vertebrae that protects the spinal cord.

Supine: lying on your back, face up.

Tendon: a band of flexible, fibrous tissue connecting a muscle to bone.

Thorasic: the 12 central bones in the spinal column that attach to the rib cage.

Transversus Abdominus: the deepest layer of abdominal muscles that help stabilize the core.

Triceps: the muscle at the back of the upper arm that extends or straightens the elbow.

Vertebrae: the bone segments that form the spinal column; 33 vertebrae fit together to support the back through a full range of motion.
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