Lots of Pilates exercises require us to move our hips into extension. Take, for example, Breathing on the Trapeze Table. For many of us, it's very difficult to keep the lumbar spine neutral while lifting our hips. #gluteamnesia
In exercises like this one, how can we make sure we're truly extending our hips (lengthening our hip flexors and engaging our glutes and hamstrings) instead of extending lumbar spine instead?
For starters, keep the movement smaller. Don't lift so high (neither your hips nor your chest). It's totally okay to keep the movement small to make sure the spine stays in place as your hips extend. Look for length from your hip bones to the top of your thighs, your hip crease should not be creased. :)
Imagine that you're reaching your tailbone long through your heels. This will help keep the lumbar spine long and prevent arching. Drop your chest a bit, connect your ribs with your hips.
Finally - if your glutes need a little encouragement - squeeze your bottom. Your butt and your abdominals should be working, your lower back should be long and free.
The exercise links within the text will lead you directly to the Pilates Encyclopedia.