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Navigating the Big Booty Trend: Anterior Pelvic Tilt, Low Back Pain, and the Hidden Risks

Updated: Jan 25

This weeks blog is written by Steph Hanson, therapist and functional rehabilitation specialist. Steph, with a background in personal training and a love of lifting weights, has very personal experience with anterior pelvic tilt and the adverse impact that it can have on the body. Training glutes should eliminate low back pain and be great for the hips. Why then are many in the fitness industry experiencing chronic low grade low back pain? If this is you, then your anterior pelvic tilt could be to blame.


An AI fitness model stands sideways on with Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Anterior pelvic tilt can be created in the gym

Introduction:

In the fitness world, the quest for a well-defined and shapely booty is all the rage, especially among social media influencers. However, for individuals grappling with an anterior pelvic tilt, the journey to a sculpted posterior can inadvertently lead to or worsen low back pain. This blog post delves into the interconnected issues of anterior pelvic tilt, the desire for a bigger booty, and the potential risks involved, emphasizing the importance of maintaining proper pelvic alignment during glute training.


Understanding Anterior Pelvic Tilt:

Anterior pelvic tilt, marked by the forward tilting of the pelvis, is influenced by various factors, including muscle imbalances, extended periods of sitting, and poor posture. This condition results in an exaggerated lumbar curve (called a lumbar lordosis), creating a swayback appearance.


The Big Booty Craze:

The contemporary emphasis on achieving a curvaceous and rounded buttocks has given rise to a myriad of workout routines aimed at enhancing glute development. However, individuals with anterior pelvic tilt should approach these regimens with caution.


Creating Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Posing Practices and Lumbar Bracing

Beyond exercise routines, other practices can contribute to the development of anterior pelvic tilt. Posing techniques aimed at exaggerating the appearance of a larger booty may inadvertently encourage pelvic misalignment. Additionally, the use of a "lumbar brace" during workouts, where the lower back is excessively arched to provide stability, can lead to anterior pelvic tilt.


Many lifters learn to use a lumbar brace when performing the barbell back squat. This is to compensate for poorly developed core stability in the gluteal and abdominal complexes. Note that abdominal stability requires more than 6pack training (see last weeks blog post on core by Luke Woolgar here). This learned position is in contrast to a ‘core brace’ that is characterised by a neutral pelvic tilt with engaged glutes and abs.


Training Glutes with Anterior Pelvic Tilt:

It's crucial to note that training the glutes with an anterior pelvic tilt can, over time, exacerbate the tilt, making matters worse. Glute training should be performed with a neutral or slightly posterior pelvic alignment to counteract the tendency to move into anterior pelvic tilt.


The Link between Anterior Pelvic Tilt and Low Back Pain:

Exacerbating Lumbar Lordosis: Anterior pelvic tilt already increases the natural curvature of the lumbar spine. Intensive glute-focused exercises, without proper attention to form and pelvic alignment, can exacerbate this lumbar lordosis, leading to increased strain on the lower back muscles.


Overactivation of Lower Back Muscles: Individuals with anterior pelvic tilt often have weakened core and hip muscles and tight lower back muscles. The imbalance in muscle activation during booty-focused exercises may result in overworking the lower back, potentially causing or worsening low back pain, and may even lead to hip and knee pain.


Recommended Exercises for Neutral Pelvic Alignment:

Glute Bridges: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips toward the ceiling, engaging your glutes while maintaining a neutral or posterior pelvic position.


Clamshells: Lie on your side with knees bent and hips stacked. Keeping your feet together, lift the top knee, engaging the glutes. Focus on maintaining pelvic alignment in either a neutral or posterior position.


Deadlifts (with proper form): Perform deadlifts with a focus on hinging at the hips while keeping the spine neutral. Avoid excessive arching of the lower back.


Planks: Engage your core by holding a plank position. Ensure your pelvis is in a neutral alignment for standard plank, or in the case of a hollow body plank, try to engage a slightly posterior pelvic position by strongly contracting the glutes and abs.


Addressing the Risks:

For those with anterior pelvic tilt striving for a more defined booty, prioritize exercises that correct muscle imbalances and promote pelvic stability. Incorporate stretches for the hip flexors, strengthen the core and glutes, and maintain proper posture during both workouts and posing. By strengthening the bodies ability to hold both a neutral pelvic tilt and a posterior pelvic tilt, you will naturally begin to move away from lumbar bracing. As your pelvic girdle learns to rest in an increasingly neutral position your low back pain should fade away.


Conclusion:

While the allure of a well-defined booty is undeniable, individuals dealing with anterior pelvic tilt should approach their fitness journey mindfully. Acknowledge the impact of posing practices and lumbar bracing on pelvic alignment, and prioritize exercises that counteract the tendency to move into anterior pelvic tilt. Seeking guidance from fitness professionals or healthcare providers ensures a balanced approach to achieving fitness goals without compromising spinal health.


If you think that this may be you but don’t know where to start, feel free to book a session with one of the team here and we’ll set you on the path to eliminating your tilt. And more importantly, eliminating the pain.


Disclaimer please note well: The information provided on this health and well-being blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or guidance. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or the emergency services immediately.


The authors of this blog are not medical professionals, and the content provided here is based on personal experiences, research, and general knowledge. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for individual health concerns. The use of any information provided on this blog is solely at your own risk. The authors, contributors, and the website owner disclaim any responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from the information provided.


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