Seated Pelvic Tilt

Dose

Perform 5 pelvic tilts during every hour of continuous sitting. Once you’re able to perform 10 in a row without slouching at the chest, progress to the next exercise.

Purpose

Tilting the pelvis can help to maintain mobility in the lumbar spine and hips and activate lumbopelvic muscles. It can also help to relieve pain when sitting or when rising from sitting for a prolonged period. It is also a convenient way to improve control of the lumbopelvic region so that it is better equipped for more demanding tasks. This will help to reduce pain and improve function in other areas of the body that require control of the low back and pelvis in order to function effectively.

Method

In a sitting position, place your hands on your hips with the index fingers on the front of your pelvis, and the thumb wrapped around behind. Tilt the pelvis as far forward as you can by arching the lower back and pushing the crotch into the seat, then tilt as far backwards as you can by rolling the pelvis backwards over your tailbone while performing the Drawing In exercise. Repeat this forward and back tilting while keeping the trunk and chest upright, preventing the shoulders and chest from slumping as you roll backwards. Use your hands to guide and increase the motion of the pelvis. It can help to imagine you are holding a bucket of water with your hands, and you are tipping water out of the front and back of the bucket as you tilt.

When you finish the exercise, return to sitting with a neutral pelvis. The pelvis is neutral when that imaginary bucket of water is level. A good way to tell is by looking at the waistband or belt, which usually sits across the brim of the pelvis. Try to sit with the waistband or belt parallel to
the ground, as this approximates a neutral pelvis. Sitting with the pelvis in other positions is acceptable, but this can lead to slumping or arching of the lower back which can aggravate symptoms if maintained for long periods.

Common Mistakes

• Slumping through the shoulders and upper back. If the shoulders and upper back are not held in an erect position, emphasis on the muscles of the lumbopelvic region can be lost, making the exercise less effective. It some cases, slumping can cause pain. If you are experiencing this, try to imagine that there is a string attached from the ceiling to the top of your head which is pulling your upper body upwards. Maintain this position while tilting the pelvis. If the exercise is still painful, reduce the range through which you are tilting so that the movement is pain free.

• Not tilting back far enough. Newcomers to this exercise tend to find rocking forward and arching the back much easier than rolling the pelvis backwards, and tend to just tilt the pelvis from neutral forwards, and then back to neutral without tipping backwards. The backwards tilt is just as important, so ensure that you focus on ‘tipping water out of the back of the bucket’. Sitting beside a mirror, or taking a video of yourself from the side are good ways to check that you are tilting backwards as well as forwards.

Progression Threshold

You should be able to perform 10 seated pelvic tilts in a row before progressing