24 Jan Do You Need To Fix Your Alignment With Pelvic Tilt Exercises?
Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal diagnoses in the world. The low back is typically considered the lumbar spine region, but it is also important to remember the pelvis and the hips influence motion at the low back. After an injury or experiencing pain in this region, motion in this area can get, ‘out of whack’ and you may feel like your alignment is off or your pelvis is tilted too much. This can lead to changes in body awareness and as a protective mechanism, the body may move in a more rigid pattern, thus less dissociation from joint to joint. This can lead to someone having difficulty with performing and controlling pelvic tilting. In these scenarios, you have to go back to the basics to retrain the foundations for healthy movement and improving body awareness. This article describes exercises that will help you fix your pelvic tilt!
Intro To Pelvic Tilting
The lumbar spine articulates with the sacrum and pelvis, which collectively is the lumbopelvic region. Learning how to dissociate movement in this region via pelvic tilting can really help someone with body awareness as well as someone who is experiencing low back pain or discomfort. We always want to promote motion, but we want to learn to control that movement. Learning how to perform pelvic tilting can be challenging, but laying flat on your back is a great place to start. When trying to teach someone a new movement, you want to limit the degrees of freedom. Supine (laying on your back) is excellent because the upper body is supported and there are fewer moving parts.
Supine Pelvic Tilt
- WHY: This exercise will help you to learn low back and pelvic body awareness. Learning body awareness in these regions is important when trying to manage pain now and in the future. This exercise also promotes motion in this region and can help with stiffness and spasms.
- HOW: Get set-up laying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet supported on the ground. Place your hands on your hip bones to help with learning body awareness. Now perform a posterior pelvic tilt followed by anterior pelvic tilt.
- COMPENSATION: Do not overarch your lower back, after you perform the posterior pelvic tilt let your low back naturally move into an anterior pelvic tilt by relaxing your muscles. The movement should come just from your stomach and hip muscles, not your low back!
Fix Your Pelvic Tilt: Cat Cow Exercise
The cat cow is another great way to feel proper movement of the pelvis and spine in a quadruped position! We will talk more about the quadruped position next.
This exercise will help with learning back and pelvic body awareness as well as it promotes global mobility of these regions. This exercise also provides the opportunity for your back to get comfortable with moving in and out of your spinal flexion and extension range of motion. Get set-up on your hands and knees. While keeping the rest of your body still, round your entire back followed by slowly arching your entire back. When you round your back, you should feel like you’re pushing your chest away from the ground by pushing through your hands. You should also be performing a posterior pelvic tilt with rounding your back, thus your back looks like an angry cat. When arching your back, you should feel like your chest is dropping towards the ground, but you don’t want to bend at your elbows, keep your arms straight. You should also be performing an anterior pelvic tilt with arching your back, thus your back and head make the shape of a camel. Follow the video for other cues and tips.
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How To Fix Your Butt Wink
Butt winking with squatting may be a result of poor lumbopelvic movement coordination. Is butt winking ok? What are ways I can fix it? Watch our youtube video to learn the answers to these questions!
Fix Your Pelvic Tilt: Quadruped Rocking
The next progression for pelvic tilting is moving to a quadruped position on your hands and knees. This is also a great exercise prior to squatting as it limits the degrees of freedom at the ankle and knee. This will promote optimal motor learning directed at maintaining the right pelvic tilt position prior to standing squats.
The focus here is to move through hip joint range of motion without excessive pelvic motion. It is important to know anatomy and lifestyle will influence how much motion someone has in this area. This may be influenced by structural anatomy, learned movement strategies, or previous injuries. In this video, we are EMPHASIZING keeping the low back still! Appreciate the movement in the first two demonstrations, followed by excessive posterior pelvic tilt and excessive lumbar extension.
Quadruped Rock Back
This exercise will teach you how to maintain a neutral or straight low back as your move your hips and shoulder. This is key as you get in and out of a chair, perform squats, and walk up and down stairs. Learning how to keep a neutral spine will help protect your back. Begin this exercise on your hands and knees in a table top position. First find a neutral low back and pelvis, you can arch your back and tuck your tailbone to find a neutral position. While maintaining this neutral position rock back towards your lower body. Rock back as far as you can until you feel like your low back is rounding or your tailbone is tucking. At first it may be beneficial to use a mirror as a visual cue to assure you are performing this correctly. This is a control exercise, and you won’t feel much. Your core muscles will be activated to maintain this neutral position.
LISTEN: LOW BACK DISCUSSION
Fix Your Pelvic Tilt: The Bird Dog Exercise
The next progression for lumbopelvic dissociation and pelvic tilting is learning to maintain a neutral spine while moving your arms and legs. The bird dog is a staple low back rehab exercise as it focuses on improving body awareness and strengthening the leg muscles and back muscles. Watch the video to see different variations of the bird dog and focus on quality versus difficulty. The goal is to be able to move your arms and legs without your back moving too much!
Begin on your hands and knees. In this position, you will balance on the opposite arm and leg. The wider you are the easier to balance, the more narrow the more challenging this will be. Bring the arm and leg up as high as you can towards the ceiling, slowly return to starting position and repeat on the other side. With the leg kicking out you will feel the muscles on the back of the hip working, with the arm that is punching out you will feel the muscles on top of the shoulder and back of the shoulder blade working. Avoid rotating the trunk, arching the back as you raise your leg, or shrugging the shoulder as you raise the arm.
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Bird Dog Progressions
Mastered the bird dog? Try these progressions! Each of these variations will challenge you to utilize your core stabilizers even more while maintaining a neutral spine. Also, if you want more access to other exercises, such as bird dog variations and more, check out our exercise library!
Bird Dog – Band
Bird Dog – Bear Position
Bird Dog – Pulse
Bird Dog – Foam Roller
Does every single person really need to fix their pelvic tilt? This is a highly debated topic that we plan to cover more as it requires more discussion. Please leave comments for us to help us with what you want to learn when it comes to fixing pelvic tilt! We hope this article has provided you with exercises variations to fix your pelvic tilt. The key is to start with the fundamentals, and progress to other positions once you have mastered the basics! Do not be discouraged if it takes time for you to begin appreciating a pelvic tilt. Just like anything else, practice and many repetitions will help you master the movement!
1. Pirouzi S, Emami F, Taghizadeh S, Ghanabari A. Is Abdominal Muscle Activity Different from Lumbar Muscle Activity during Four-Point Kneeling? Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences. 2013; 38(4): 327-333.