Technique Tuesday: What is a tuck?

The TUCK. A tiny movement that can make all the difference in barre class. Hearing the word “tuck” can either cue you on your way to toned abs, a tight seat, and improved posture, or leave you with a look of sheer confusion. You’ll hear “tuck” probably a dozen times during any barre class along with a few other terms you may have never heard before. Whether you have no idea what it means to tuck, or are confused by what it does or is supposed to do, this blog post is for you!

The tuck is an adjustment of the position of your hips, abs, and spine. It is sometimes cued to the class by saying “neutral spine,” “heavy tailbone,” “tuck your pelvis under,” or “pelvic tilt.” Naturally many people arch their spine. The goal of the tuck is to remove the natural arch in your lower back until you find a neutral spine and body alignment. The position is found by rolling your hips forward while engaging your abdominal muscles. Shoulders should be directly over hips. This movement is small – almost invisible – and doesn’t come naturally. Each class you’ll have to work towards finding the position and it is important to ask for help if something doesn’t feel right.

The tuck is usually the default start position for every exercise in barre class. The tuck can also be used as an exercise on its own, where you repeatedly engage the muscles with tiny pulses, or combined with other moves. For example during a chair pose, you might be told to tuck to the beat to keep your core engaged or tuck and lift your heels alternatively. The tuck makes the chair pose more challenging. It is important to find the correct positioning first and then focus on the tuck movement with control and precision. If you aren’t feeling the muscles start to fire up, take a second to realign.

Once you master the tuck the benefits are endless! A lifted booty, strong abs and good posture are just the beginning. Strengthening your pelvic floor helps prevent injuries outside of class, in other workouts and in life!

A tuck is an example of an isometric movement, or a muscle contraction where the muscle tenses while not changing length. Think about basically humping the air. While it may seem weird, rest assured knowing everyone in class will be doing the same movement, feeling the same burn and probably shaking. If you are concentrating and performing the exercise correctly, there isn’t any time to look at anyone else in class!

As always you should stop if you feel discomfort or have any pelvis or low-back issues. Ask questions instead of pushing through in pain. It is important to watch the alignment and not roll the hips under too deeply. Think about truly engaging the core next time you hear the work “tuck” and watch your barre form transform! Remember to always stretch thoroughly after any barre class.

Michelle Nigro