Perform 10 standing pelvic tilts 3 times each day. Once you can perform 10 in a row without bending your knees or squeezing your buttocks, progress to the next exercise. You can use this movement to relieve back pain when standing and to adjust your standing posture.
Tilting the pelvis can help to maintain mobility in the lumbar spine and hips, activate lumbopelvic muscles, and can help to relieve pain when standing for long periods. It is also a convenient way to improve control of the lumbopelvic region so that it is better equipped for more demanding tasks. This exercise 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.
Start by standing with feet under the hips, and the knees bent just enough so that they’re not locked backward. 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, then tilt the pelvis backward by tucking the tailbone under 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 tilt the pelvis. Use your hands to increase the range of motion. 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 standing 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 stand with the waistband or belt parallel to
the ground, as this approximates a neutral pelvis.
• Thrusting instead of tilting. It’s common when the pelvic muscles are untrained to compensate by squeezing the buttocks and pushing the hips forward, instead of tilting. This can make the exercise less effective. Try to avoid pushing ‘the bucket’ forwards and backward, and just tilt it in place instead. This will engage more of the lumbopelvic muscles. It is often stiff and uncoordinated at first, so don’t worry if ‘the bucket’ doesn’t tip very far. Your mobility will improve with practice, and as you complete the other exercises in this prescription.
• Bending the knees. This is common when trying to tilt the pelvis backward and round the lower back. The knees should be bent just enough so that they are not locked, and should not move during the exercise. If you are having trouble with the backward tilt, keep practicing the Seated Pelvic Tilt until you can tilt in standing without bending the knees. Performing the Kneeling Hip Stretch can also help by relieving tension in areas that immobilize the pelvis.
You should be able to perform 10 pelvic tilts in a row before progressing.