Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Nolan & Jade Foster

Tucking the Tail

Recommended Posts

Tucking the tail has become so automatic for me in my own training and when teaching. However, over the summer I traded a 6 week block of my classes with a local Pilates Guru for 6 weeks of hers. During her sessions she was constantly putting my lower in back in, what she deemed, a neutral spine, for certain exercises. I told her on each occasion this was straining on my lower back, that I could not engage my TA or my glutes fully. She insisted this was correct but could give little reason as to why other than explaining that this was the neutral spine and my lower back needed that curve, so simply explaining what it was but no rational as to why. I couldn´t figure it out either ... I just knew it hurt!

So I went along as she promised the pain I was experiencing would go away once my lower back muscles had adjusted from what she referred to as ´my bad habit´´ (thus referring to my tail tuck in certain exercises). But it didn´t go away and my back become daily painful, my glutes weren´t active and it just felt all wrong. I discussed this with her trying ascertain her bio mechanical reasons for this position, but she could not provide any. I noticed other ladies in the classes (who had been going for months) had no glutes or core stability even after going to classes twice a week for a year in a couple of cases)

Then it came to her attending my 6 weeks of classes using the tail tuck. She protested but did it anyway and i pointed out to her that even if she flattened her back completely against the wall and shot an x-ray from the side she would still have that natural curve in the lower spine. She continued with my 6 week program as agreed. At the end of the 6 weeks she made no complaints of lower back pain, I personally saw an improvement from TA activation. Sadly despite all this she was still not convinced and I was somewhat disappointed in myself as, like her, I could not not voice the bio mechanical reasons for the tail tuck, I just knew that it worked. I did however, explain that tucking the tail activated TA, Glutes and protected the lower back (and it was the biomechanics of protecting the lower back that I could not explain).

So, could the rational behind the tail tuck and it´s reference to protecting the lower back be explained a bit more scientifically? I know if works, i´ve seen it and felt it and had the back pain from the wrong way to prove it. But when asked again I would like to be able to give a bit more science to it ....... cue KIT !

Incidentally and in contrast the the PIlates classes I attended my clients have great glute activation and core, manifesting in a matter of a few weeks and the effect of significantly noticeable and also felt by my clients, a couple also report disappearance of niggling lower back pain. I´d also like to add that there are some Pilates teachers out there that are turned on to the tail tuck method and have great classes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

Interested if you think she was asking you to hyper extend the spine at lower back and was she also asking you to activate your pelvic floor. I am working on strengthening my pelvic floor over the next 6-12 months (it takes a long time) which engages TA and the feeling of some tail tuck even though it is in a position of neutral spine (lying flat with knees slightly bent, sitting tall on edge of chair, standing tall with toes slightly inward).

ta

Louise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's simply a clash of paradigms: the most acrimonious exchanges I have had in recent years have been over folk defending a spine/pelvis position as neutral (or arguing the merits of this positioning), when to me it is hyperextended and cannot/does not achieve the benefits that are ascribed to this position.

We "tuck the tail" for a number of reasons, all for teaching and repatterning reasons:

1. To move the AIIS away from the knee (to stretch rectus femoris). As a side note, any back bending needs to include this cue to prevent the hip flexors from hyperextending the lumbar spine. This is one of the reasons we favour the 'box bridge' (full back bend done with feet on a 300mm (1ft) support: to reduce the stretch on the HFs, and allowing the back bend requirement to be experienced in the middle and upper back. Most full back bends are done by strong hyperextension of the lumbar spine.

2. As a gluteus maximus activation technique (as reciprocal inhibitors of rectus femoris, this is essential (rather than using the core); this applies to back bends as well. We know that gluteus maximus is inactive in many people; this cue (along with "squeeze the glutes" brings this part into awareness and, in time, under conscious control.

3. To flatten the lumbar spine (in strengthening exercises) to prevent hyperextension under load (think the low-ring glide-out movement). If the back is anything other than flat, then strongly activating the core is more difficult to achieve and, when the core is challenged to resist extension, renders it much weaker than when flattened; this can be demonstrated easily.

More later, KL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a very relevant topic and I'm really glad it's been raised, thank you Jade/Nolan.

The greater the underpinning physiological and bio mechanical knowledge/ understanding, the better.

I imagine this won't be the first time this issue will be raised.... Today a Pilates instructor, tomorrow a PT/ doctor/ physio/ etc. We really need to know our stuff.

Thanks for the explanations, Kit. Please keep that info coming :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...