What is the Pelvic Tilt?

A pelvic tilt is the ability to rotate your pelvis anteriorly (forward) and posteriorly (backward). The ability to pelvic tilt properly and control your pelvic tilt can change the force put through muscles that cross your mid-section (your core) as well as those that control your limbs.

Why is the Pelvic Tilt Important?

The ability to work through your full pelvic tilt in a controlled manner can improve the way you move. Several large muscle groups attach to the pelvis in some fashion including the abdominals, lats, glutes, hamstrings and quads. All of these muscles are effected by the positioning of the pelvis and their ability to function can be directly related to your pelvic positioning. 

An anterior pelvic tilt can cause tightness in the hip flexors and lats, while putting the hamstrings and abdominals on a constant stretch. The inability to move through anterior and posterior pelvic tilts can lead to weakness and mobility deficits in those muscles as well. 

Your pelvic tilt can also effect the joints around it. For instance, an increased anterior pelvic tilt can cause increased extension and compression at the lower back and relative hip flexion, potentially causing a decreased ability to extend at the hip.  On the other hand, a posterior pelvic tilt can limit the mobility in your lower back and the ability to flex in the hip. 

Lastly, the ability to pelvic tilt can directly effect some of your movement patterns. For example, the ability to squat, with or without weights. As you move down into your squat position the ability to move through your pelvis from an anterior pelvic tilt to a posterior pelvic tilt can allow you to drop deeper into your squat. If you are someone who hangs out in an anterior pelvic tilt, causing more extension at your lumbar spine, it will be beneficial for you to learn and control how to move through a posterior pelvic tilt to help with excessive lumbar extension during lifts. 

How do I Train the Pelvic Tilt?

Basic Start: 

Basic exercises to try to start to understand your pelvic movement begin with just moving through anterior to posterior tilt. You can do this starting on your back then working onto your side, then to a seated position and finally a standing position. The intention is to be able to move and control the pelvis independently from the legs and upper body.  

As you anterior tilt, it should create a small arch in the back. As you posterior tilt it should flatten the back to the floor.
This is made more difficult by standing. This give less feedback as you do not have the floor to move away from or toward.
Intermediate:

            After developing the ability to move through full anterior and posterior pelvic tilts independently the next step is to add some basic movements. These movements will include pelvic tilting within bigger movements of the body. An example of this would be a cat-camel, or some of the hip hinge movement discussed in our last post. 

Advanced:

            Once you are comfortable with your pelvic tilt with simpler movements and your ability to maintain proper positioning of the pelvis you can then advance to bigger movements, such as squats, deadlifts and kettle bell swings. An example to help continue to work on an anterior pelvic tilt is to perform squats with a weight held out in front as pictured below. 

Try doing a squat with a kettlebell held in front of you. Having this anterior weight can help improve the ability to move through the pelvis allowing you to move deeper into your squat.