Squat Tip: Pelvic Tilt

30 April 2013
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Image credit: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

If you’ve read any of my posts, or follow me on twitter then you will have noticed that I tend to talk quite a lot about the importance of the Squat exercise. For me, whether your goal is fat loss, weight gain, strength development, or anything really, then the Squat is of paramount importance for anybody’s exercise routine.

When I’m at the gym I see lots of people attempting the Squat, but unfortunately whilst I see some people doing these with great form, I do see a lot of people who could do with a few pointers. And what I have noticed is that a lot of people could benefit by understanding the basics of pelvic tilt. So here you go, from my experience in coaching friends and family these exercises, the following is my opinion on the best way to get this concept across.

What is Pelvic Tilt?

Pelvic Tilt: The orientation of the pelvis in respect to the femurs it rests upon.

Two types of tilt we are interested in are ‘Anterior’ and ‘Posterior’ pelvic tilt, these can be described as below:

Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Where the front of the pelvis drops, and the back of the pelvis rises.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt: Where the front of the pelvis rises, and the back of the pelvis drops.


OK, let’s put this into practice. The way I do this is to get people to sit on a Swiss Ball in a natural position as per image 1, here you can see that this is a neutral pelvis sitting position.

Image 1: Neutral Pelvis

Next, get them to tilt their pelvis in a posterior manner. They do this by squeezing the glutes and the ball rolls slightly forward: see image 2. Your hips are now in posterior pelvic tilt.

Image 2: Posterior Pelvic Tilt

Finally, get them to return back to the neutral position, and then move the hips backwards in an anterior way so that the ball rolls backwards and the lower back slightly arches: see image 3. Your hips are now in anterior pelvic tilt.

Image 3: Anterior Pelvic Tilt

OK, so how does this help Squat form? Simple: from an anterior pelvic tilt position sat on a Swiss Ball, get the person to slowly stand up and then sit back down into the same position.

They have now performed their first squat, in an anterior pelvic tilt position that will ensure that their lower back does not round and put unnecessary strain on the body.

So there you go. This is how I like to introduce the pelvic tilt concept, and I really think that this helps people start to learn how to squat properly.

Of course this isn’t the only thing you should focus on when learning how to squat, and for anyone lifting weights I recommend you get taught good technique from a trained professional, and for those who really want to get into the mechanics of the movement then check out Mark Rippetoe’s ‘Starting Strength’ book for a real in-depth description of the squat.

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