Archive for the ‘Analyzing Anatomy’ Category

When you are dealing with an athlete that has anterior pelvic tilt, what certain steps would you take to train them? -Will Franco


This is something I’ve learned a lot about from training myself and will be a common finding in most athletic populations.  It is not neccessarily a bad thing, as it puts the hamstrings at a greater mechanical advantage, but when it is excessive it can lead to a host of problems.  Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by some combination of tight lumbar erectors (lower back) and hip flexors.  Due to reciprocal inhibition, relatively weak glutes and abs are usually found.  Tight hamstrings are typical and other issues may contribute such as lats (tight), obliques (inhibited), and just about any other muscle that inserts or originates at the pelvis.  For the sake of this post, we will stick to the basics, but watch your athlete/client and take note of how they compensate to see what is really going on.

It is important to start by teaching them what a neutral spine is and how to correct their posture throughout the day.  Foam rollers are a useful tool to help loosen people up.  For mobility and activation work, I like hip flexor mobilizations because they are easy to coach and don’t take a lot of time and bridges with a narrow base and the knees spread to get the glutes firing.  Both of these are easy to add to a warm-up.  Resistance is what will make a lasting change and this will need to be coached closely.  Sumo deadlifts, wide stance box squats and hip thrusters will be money exercises to restore activation in the glutes if done correctly while a physio ball/bar rollout will hit the anterior core hard if the right progression is chosen and a neutral spine can be maintained.



I want to take a moment to write down how Stuart McGill has influenced my way of thinking as a coach and the way that I program for the core.  I am sure that not every one of these concepts is directly attributable to McGill but the point remains the same.  If anyone smarter than me on this subject has a different opinion than me or feels I misinterpreted something, feel free to counter my points.  Again, this is just my interpretation of his work.

1. Even though the core technically flexes, laterally flexes, extends and twists the torso, you are best training stability and the ability to resist movement.  I use anti-extention, anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation, and hip flexion with a neutral spine in my programming.  This is not to say that only plank and quadruped positions should be used, but rather that movement needs to be trained to come from the hips and thoracic spine rather than the lumbar spine.  This is where I would use med-ball work.

2. Piggybacking off of the last one, sit-ups, supermans, and rotational movements emphasizing the lumbar spine are obsolete. You only have so many flexion and extention cycles and with each one the threshold for injury lowers a little.  The lumbar spine also does not have a high capacity for rotation and something like Russian twists eliminating the ability to rotate at the hips can be detrimental to back health.

3. Loading the spine heavy early in the morning isn’t the best idea.  The spine decompresses over night and until gravity “shrinks” you back down, you are best waiting to deadlift or squat.  Until your discs are re-compressed, your chances of suffering a herniation will increase dramatically.  This is why people get a little shorter as the day goes on.

4. Lower back endurance is more important than strength.  The hips need to be the driving force of all movement with the core just being the medium that transfers the force.

5. There is no such thing as training the lower abs or the upper abs.

6. You need some sort of co-contaction of the core or you will suffer a back injury.  This is why things like sneezing and picking up a pencil can injure people in some cases.

7. Drawing-in is misinterpreted and unnecessary unless the muscle itself needs to be re-educated.

8.  Belts give a false sense of security.  Things like creating intra-abdominal pressure will do a lot more for sparing the spine than a belt ever will.

9. The spine handles compressive force much more efficiently than shear force.

10. Creating flexibility at the lumbar spine is bad, this is the biggest knock I have on yoga.