The Pelvic Powerhouse, Part 1

Where does your power come from? Your back, legs, or core? The back, legs, and core are all dependent on our pelvis for support to prevent injury and maintain strength. The hip girdle is intricately connected to the musculature of the back, core, and legs. This series will focus on how to get more from your body through the hips. Here we will explore how the pelvis works and how it affects the back.

How the Hips Work
The hips are two ball and socket joints. Ball and socket joints give the joint high amounts of flexibility. Hips are able to adduct (move towards the midline of the body) and abduct (move towards the outside of the body).

The joint can also move posteriorly (towards the back of the body) and anteriorly (towards the front of the body) All of these movements combined are what allow your legs to go from walking to a star jump.

Below is an illustration of the ball and socket hip joint:

Hip Joint
The hip joint is controlled and connected to the rest of the body through 20 different muscles. Check out this awesome interactive map of the hip to delve deeper into the details.

The Hips Effect On the Back
The lower back is a common place for pain and injury. The back is connected to the hips by the iliopsoas, a muscle group made up of the iliacus and the psoas. These two connect to the lumbar vertebrae of the spine.

"Tuck your butt" engages the iliopsoas to decompress the lower back and ensure you are not dumping pressure into your lower back. The simple movement of "tuck" or "thrust" the hips is activating the iliopsoas. When we sit all day, we deactivate, shorten, and stiffen these muscles.

A short iliopsoas will pull harder on the lumbar, pushing out the butt and dropping more compression and stress into the spine. Our iliopsoas needs to be long, flexible, and strong to reduce pain and injury.

Improve Your Hips to Improve Your Back
There are two main ways to aide your back through your hips:

1) Walk
Getting up from your desk and walking is important, try once an hour. Walk to the coffee shop that is down the street from your building rather than drive. Make a short walk a habit after dinner to connect with your family or neighborhood.

2) Stretch

The Take-Away
The hips are interconnected to our whole body. The back is powerful because of the hips. When you are looking for strength or relief in your back, go to your hips.

Yours in health,
Garrett