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Low Back Curve and Pelvis Posture Exercise

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Updated April 16, 2014

Image of the pelvis and how it's connected to the low back curve.

Image of the pelvis and how it's connected to the low back curve. The pelvis and low back curve are related.

Alexander Raths | Dreamstime
Your spine has curves in five areas (neck, upper back, low back, sacrum and coccyx). Three main curves are located in the neck, upper back and low back; they are instrumental for body balance. The bottom end of your spine (your sacrum) is wedged in back between the two hip bones that comprise the pelvis. Because of this location, the movements you make with your pelvis very much affect what happens in your spine. When the pelvis moves, the spine follows. One very important thing you can do to increase your postural awareness is to become aware of your low back curve. Here's how.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 3 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Sit on a firm chair or stool.   Place yourself so that your weight is right on top of the two sitting bones, which are located directly under your pelvis. By sitting right on top of the bones, you’ll automatically get some support for an upright body posture. Once you get the hang of this try it while standing against a wall. (It’s much more challenging that way.)
  2. Hold onto the arms of your chair. If your chair doesn't have arms, hold onto the edge of your desk or the chair seat itself. The purpose of this is to support your back while you move your pelvis. Many of us lack core abdominal strength, which is key to preventing back injury. If you are in this group, you'll need the extra support that comes from bracing yourself with your arms and hands.
  3. Tilt your pelvis forward. This means that when you’re done with this movement, the top of your hips will be forward of your sitting bones. Your hip joints will be flexed. While in this position, notice the (slightly) exaggerated arch in your low back, with accompanying increase in low back muscle tension. A moderate amount of this increase and exaggeration is normal.
  4. Relax back to the start position, where you are sitting right on top of those sitting bones and your trunk is upright.
  5. Next, tilt your pelvis back. This means that when you’ve completed the movement, the top of your hips will be in back of your sitting bones. Your hip joints will open up a little from the flexed position they occupied when you tilted forward. Your abs will be working hard, so, as mentioned in Step 2, don't hesitate to support yourself by bracing your hands against your chair. While in this position, notice how the normal lumbar curve has flattened out a bit, and how your low back muscles aren’t as tight as they were in step 3. This is normal.
  6. Relax back to the start position, where you are sitting right on top of those sitting bones and your trunk is upright.
  7. Repeat the sequence again. This time when you’re in the forward position, pause briefly and try to slide your hand between your low back spine and the back of the chair or the wall. You should be able to do this. When you’re in the backward position, most likely there will be little to no space between your low back and the seat back or wall.
  8. If you have problems moving your pelvis forth and back, you might imagine that it is a basket or bowl of vegetables. Like a bowl or basket, the pelvis has a round shape. Imagine the vegetables are placed toward the front of that bowl and their weight tends to bring the bowl (pelvis) into a forward tilt. To go back, imagine that the vegetables in the basket are placed toward the back. Their weight causes the basket to roll backward.

Tips:

  1. Turn this posture awareness exercise into a posture muscle builder by doing it with your back against the wall. Keep your heels against the baseboard - this will make your abs really work!
  2. Warm up by doing pelvic tilts while lying supine.
  3. Common postural abnormalities (that are often addressed with specific exercises) include too much low back curve and forward tilt, and too little. Too little low back curve is called flat low back posture.
  4. If you want to work other areas of your posture, try this Posture Exercise series.

What You Need

  • A chair, preferably with arm rests.
  • When you're comfortable with this exercise, you can switch to a wall.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Back & Neck Pain
  4. Back Exercises
  5. Posture Exercise for Low Back Curve and the Pelvis

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