Glossary of Terms

Abs: the abdominal muscles, or "abs," are a group of six muscles that extend from the ribs to the pelvic area. In Pilates, the abs are part of the corect muscles that support the body, enhance posture, and enhance breathing.

Barrel: a type of Pilates exercise equipment that is used in different sizes for different exercises. Barrel exercises can enhance breathing, help correct posture with spinal work, and develop the arms and legs.

Bicep: the large upper arm muscle that flexes the elbow and rotates the forearm. In Pilates, a traditional bicep curl exercise is performed with emphasis on engaging the core muscles.

Body-Mind Connection: focusing the mind on the body's movements is essential to Pilates. Blending Western and Eastern philosophies, this approach teaches that the mind and body working together will increase the benefits to both.

Breathing Techniques: Pilates teaches proper breathing techniques that can help improve posture, increase lung capacity, and assist with movement and body stabilization.

Cadillac: Pilates apparatus also known in Pilates as "The Rack" or "Trapeze Table," this piece of equipment features a raised, horizontal tabletop with a four-post frame, with various bars, straps, springs, and levers attached that are used for different movements. The Cadillac is a highly effective and versatile apparatus when used under the direction of a qualified Pilates trainer. All of the Marshall Eklund Pilates trainers are experienced in the use the Pilates equipment in our San Diego Pilates studio.

Cervical: related to the neck, or the top seven bones in the spinal column supporting the neck and head are the cervical vertebrae.

Chin Tucked: A movement that helps elongate the muscles in the back of the neck and stretch muscles that are tightened by poor posture, such as a "forward head."

Core: The "core" or "Powerhouse" consists of many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso.

Extension: straightening out a limb using the muscles.

Flexion: bending a limb with muscles. The Pilates "Hundreds" are a "forward flexion" exercise that uses the abdominals to bring the shoulders and pelvis closer together.

Hundred, The: One of the most basic Pilates is The Hundred. It strengthens your abs and increases your circulation and prepares you for the other mat exercises. The Hundred involves proper breathing technique as well as body position, and can be performed by beginners or in advanced versions.

Hyperextension: straightening a limb beyond its normal range of motion.

Imprinting: In Pilates, this term refers to isolating the individual vertebrae of the spine, using the breath and/or movement.

Intercostal Muscles: These muscles run diagonally between each rib; two kinds, internal and external, help control expansion and contraction of the rib cage as you breathe.

Jump Board: The jump board is used in place of the foot bar on the Reformer. It allows for continuous jumping exercises that may add a cardiovascular component to one's Pilates routine. The jump board can be used without jumps for low-impact repetitions that promote superior control of the lower part of the body. Advanced routines on the jump board are effective for power, coordination, core strength, and improving athletic performance.

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.

Magic Circle: a simple isometric device used in Pilates, this flexible ring with handles is used to work the muscles of the arms and inner thighs, in particular.

Mat: Basic, essential mat work exercises done on the mat in Pilates are the foundation for the STOTT PILATES® method. Any number of exercises and modifications can be performed in a group fitness or personal training setting.

Navel to Spine: Joseph Pilates used the instruction to think of drawing the navel toward the spine as you exhale. This Pilates movement helps to stabilize the torso and strengthen movements from the Powerhouse.

Neutral Spine or Neutral Pelvis: maintaining the natural curve in the spine during exercise as opposed to flattening it out or pressing it down.

Pelvic Floor Muscles: Internal muscles engaged when stopping urination or performing Kegel exercises.

Pelvis: the lower part of the abdomen located between the hipbones; the structure that supports the spinal column.

Powerhouse: a term used by Joseph Pilates to describe the core region of the torso, including the abdominal muscles, pelvic girdle, buttocks and lower back. The term is commonly used in Pilates and other types of fitness regimens.

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. Although it is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles, it is the one that looks like a six-pack when toned.

Reformer: Pilates equipment that uses unique spring resistance to help generate smooth muscular contractions that develop strength without bulk. Adaptable and versatile, it can be adjusted for differing heights and abilities.

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.

Scooping the Abs: Activating the deepest layers of abdominal muscles up and in to support the back and stabilize the body. Pilates trainers encourage you to practice this movement to help flatten the tummy and develop a powerful core.

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

STOTT PILATES®: Developed by former professional dancer Moira Merrithew, with input from sports medicine professionals, STOTT PILATES® is a contemporary, anatomically based approach to Joseph Pilates' original exercise method. STOTT PILATES® is taught at Marshall Eklund Pilates Studio in San Diego.

Supine: lying on your back, face up.

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

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

Transverse Abdominus: Known as the "transverse muscles," they are the deepest of the abdominal muscles. Activating the transverse muscles helps stabilize the core and maintain correct body posture.

Triceps: the muscle at the back of the upper arm that extends or straightens the elbow. Pilates exercises develop and tone the triceps, which are often neglected in favor of bicep exercises.

Vertebrae: the bone segments that form the spinal column; 32 to 34 vertebrae fit together to support the back through a full range of motion. Strong core muscles developed in Pilates help support the spine and correct poor posture.

Wunda Chair: Pilates exercise equipment that involves push-up and push-down movements to help with strengthening and balance.

Zipper: Pilates trainers use this image to describe the action of drawing the lower abs up and in, as if "zipping" them up.