I wanted to talk a little bit about the pelvis, specifically the different kinds of pelvic tilts, why we may have a pelvic tilt, and where/when we may see it. First of all, I’d like to let you know what makes up the pelvic structure. It consists of the sacrum and coccyx posteriorly (back of the body) and the hip bones anteriorly (front of the body) and laterally (sides of the body). Our hip bones consist of the ilium, ischium, and pubis.
Our pelvis can tilt in two directions, anterior (front) and posterior (back). A great way to visualize the two tilts is to imagine that your pelvis is a bucket filled with water.
If we have an anterior pelvic tilt, our pelvis (bucket of water) tilts to the front of the body, so our ‘bucket’ will be tilting forward and water spilling down over our toes, while the back of the pelvis rises. This can happen when our hip flexors (anterior attachment psoas, rectus femoris, and other muscles) are shortened, or tight, (perhaps from sitting too long, like for years) therefore; pulling the front of the pelvis down. This will create an arch in the lower back (imagine sticking your booty out) and the belly will protrude. Other muscle imbalances like having a weak core, and weak posterior chain muscles can contribute to having this issue. We may see this in overall posture, and during overhead pressing motions, deadlifts, squats or planks.
If tight hip flexors pull down and create an anterior pelvic tilt, what tight muscles would create a posterior pelvic tilt? Let’s go back to our ‘bucket’, the back of the pelvis will now be pulled down in the back, rising in the front, spilling water down the backs of our legs and to our heels. Tight external obliques, rectus abdominis, glutes, or hamstrings can create this. This will create more of a “tuck” of the pelvis, pushing the hips forward. We see the opposite muscle imbalances here-tight posterior muscles, and weak anterior muscles. As with the anterior tilt, we may see the posterior tilt with overall posture-standing/sitting, and with movements like the squat and deadlift.
Both of these conditions can create issues in other parts of the body like the low back, knees, and feet and in the thoracic spine, shoulders, and hips themselves. I will follow up with part 2 of the blog where I get into details of how to lengthen and strengthen the problem muscle groups for both of these conditions, as well as a quick exercise to practice feeling the two tilts that also works the muscles involved. While you wait for part 2 to come out, start thinking about instances that you may be experiencing either of these two issues and just brings awareness to it-don’t stress or obsess, just notice and move on…
Stay tuned, and keep your body in motion!! ~Coach Mary