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"Butt Back" and Anterior Pelvic Tilt

prn1202's picture
Last seen:
11 years 1 month ago
10/24/2012 - 3:49am
"Butt Back" and Anterior Pelvic Tilt
In the strength and conditioning realm, anterior pelvic tilt has become a hot topic, as many people nowadays have it and it can lead to issues (excessive stress on lumbar spine, etc). The typical prescription is to stretch the hip flexors, strengthen the posterior chain, and do exercises like reverse crunches that strengthen your anterior core and pull you towards posterior tilt, eventually bringing you more towards neutral. You recommended a "butt back" approach to achieving optimal posture, but it seemed to me that that might contribute to anterior pelvic tilt (or any excessive deviation into extension for that matter), since a "Donald Duck" butt is a classic sign of APT and, I think, invariably causes an arch in the lumbar spine. Is there something I'm missing in your mechanism that would circumvent this problem?
charlenehannibal's picture
Last seen:
2 years 9 months ago
12/15/2010 - 7:51am

Great question.  An arch in the lumbar spine is absolutely something we want to avoid, for all the reasons I'm sure of which you seem already aware.  What we are teaching is called pelvic "anteversion."  By allowing the pelvis tip forward, with the flexibility located at L5-S1 and not higher, the upper lumbar will not be affected.   A higher lumbar curve would be a swayed or arched back, whereas an anteverted pelvis allows only the lowest area of the back to move.  

If you look at our anatomy, the last disc (L5/S1) is a wedge-shaped disc.  By allowing the pelvis to tip forward rather than tuck under, this disc shape can be preserved, rather than getting compressed and pushed backwards.  

To help people avoid swaying the back, we encourage our students to move the front of the ribcage down and slightly forward.  This smooths out any sway and eventually helps to lengthen the muscles in the back that can pull us into an overly-arched position when tight.  If this doesn't seem very clear, the pictures and Esther's explanations in 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, is a great resource.


I hope this was helpful to you.



Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Palo Alto/San Francisco

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