Learning how to properly engage your abdominal muscles (CORE) in order to avoid low back pain or strain when performing abdominal strengthening exercises. What Muscles Are Involved in a Pelvic Tilt? Your transverse abdominis muscle (TA) are located deep in your lower abdominals and are the main muscles recruited while performing a pelvic tilt. To properly locate these muscles you need to find the bony prominence known as your anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). This bone is found by laying supine (on your back) and feeling approximately 5cm below your belly button then to the left or the right approximately 5-6cm. Once found, place your fingers directly on the inside border of the ASIS and apply minor pressure and force yourself to cough. The muscle you feel jump up during this action is your transverse abdominis muscle. Once you are aware of the muscle you will need to recruit it will be easier to understand the technique behind pelvic tilt.
The purpose behind strengthening your TA muscle is to a avoid low back strain while performing exercises, heavy lifting, or doing day to day activities. When CORE muscles are weak and untrained the low back musculature has to work harder instead of working as a team with the CORE muscles to share the load. This causes unhealthy muscle imbalances and pelvic rotations changing natural body mechanics and posture, resulting in injury.
How Do I Do a Pelvic Tilt? To properly perform a pelvic tilt you begin with laying supine on the floor with knees bent and heels flat on the ground. Everyone has a natural lordotic curve in their lower back which prevents your back from touching the ground when laying down; however, the goal of the pelvic tilt is to eliminate that curve by engaging your TA muscle to press your back flat against the ground. You begin the tilt by recruiting your TA muscle and pretending you have a string running from your belly button through to your spine. Imagine someone is pulling on the string causing your back to be pulled flat against the floor and pelvis to rotate backwards and down. It will sometimes help to keep your fingers on the inside border of your ASIS and apply pressure to the TA muscle to ensure you are contracting the correct muscle to perform the movement.
Once you have learned to get your back flat against the floor hold the contraction for approximately five seconds and release, which will cause your pelvis to rotate forwards and bring back the lordotic curve in your back. Repeat the motion of contract and release continuously for approximately ten repetitions, increasing the numbers as you become stronger and more comfortable with the exercise.
Learning to properly perform a pelvic tilt will help you get the most out of any abdominal exercise because you will be able to properly isolate and use your abdominal muscles instead of cheating and letting other muscles provide assistance.
Copyright CORE Conditioning 2008