The blog entries preceding this one dealt with stretching the low back and thigh muscles to improve the health of your low back. Now I would like to stress the importance of developing and maintaining a Neutral Pelvis. Simply stated is that position between the happy or perky butt (anterior pelvic tilt, APT) and shy butt (posterior pelvic tilt, PPT). We were designed to hold neutral pelvis when we run, walk, stand and sit. It is the strongest position of the spine in which all its curvatures are balanced (in good alignment). What happens at your pelvic area affects what happens in all other joint in the body to some extent. Thus, a neutral pelvis is vital for maintaining your low back health, and for that matter, the health of your entire body.
Discovering your Neutral Pelvis
Assuming that your lumbar mobility is good.
- Stand with good posture, without bending your knees rock your pelvis back and forth: stick your butt out (perky butt) and tuck it under your body (shy butt).
- Take care to keep your rib cage, shoulders and knees static. Do not allow them to move. This movement should come solely from your core.
- If you are doing this exercise correctly, the point between your perky butt stance and shy butt posture is your neutral pelvis.
- If this position seems natural for you, congratulations!, your low back muscles, your core, your hip flexors, hamstrings and quads are in balance.
- If neutral pelvis feels abnormal, you are likely to have made posterior pelvic tilt or anterior pelvic tilt part of your default posture. Let’s revisit a previous post on these two concepts.
So what is your pelvis telling you?
If you have no trouble achieving and maintaining neutral pelvis, your pelvis is telling you to use it to your advantage. You should walk, run, stand, sit and exercise while keeping your pelvis neutral. Keep your exercise routines balanced as far as the kind of movements you incorporate. Put equal emphasis on strengthening and stretching.
On the other hand, if you carry your hips on an anterior or a posterior pelvic tilt, your pelvis is telling you that you need to stretch some areas and strengthen some areas so that achieving and maintaining a neutral pelvis becomes an easy task.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt (Shy-butt posture)
- Abdominal muscles
- Hamstrings (back of thighs)
- Gluteus Maximus (butt muscle)
They are also telling you that you would need to strengthen your:
Erector spinae (low back), Hip Flexors (Iliopsoas, rectus femoris), and Quadriceps (front thighs). If you do this, you should be able to achieve and maintain a neutral pelvis more effectively.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
If you had trouble, bringing your hips forward while keeping your rib cage, shoulders and knees, chances are you exhibit an anterior pelvic-tilt.
Your pelvis is telling you that you should stretch your:
- Erector Spinae (low back muscles)
- Hip Flexors (iliopsoas, quadratus femoris)
- Quadriceps (front thigh muscles)
They are also telling you that you should strengthen your hamstrings (posterior thighs), glutes (butt) and your abdominal musculature (especially your inner core muscles). If you do this, you should be able to achieve and maintain a neutral pelvis more effectively.
If you grasp the concept of neutral pelvis, you may be able to have very strong body for years to come.