Your Pelvis and Cardio…

Some types of cardio will be better for anteriorly or posteriorly rotated pelvises.  If your physiotherapist has told you that your pelvis is either anteriorly or posteriorly rotated, you may need to be careful with the type of cardio you choose.

Imagine that your pelvis is a bucket full of water.  With a neutral pelvis, your bucket of water does not pour out.


If you arch your lower back, you are anteriorly rotating your pelvis and by doing this, the water would tend to pour out in front of you.


If you posteriorly rotate your pelvis, slouching or flattening the lower back, your bucket of water will spill out behind you.


Lots of people have very dynamic pelvises that tend to give them problems from time to time.  If you are such a person and you like to do stationary cardio in the gym, you might need to change what you are doing for a while.  Its most important when you are in either a more acute, or painful, period or until you are able to keep your pelvis well aligned.

For the purposes of this blog, when I am referring to either an anteriorly or posteriorly rotated pelvis, I am referring to just one side of the pelvis going in that direction.  This causes an imbalance and may result in dysfunction.  Keep in mind that while one side is rotated one way, there will be a relative rotation on the other side; however, I will refer just to the symptomatic side.

For example, if you have a posteriorly rotated pelvis, using the rower may not be the best choice.   If you slouch, or round the lower back, when sitting and rowing, you will be encouraging a posterior rotation of your pelvis.

Walking uphill on a treadmill may also irritate a posteriorly rotated pelvis causing the muscles to have to work harder and running on a treadmill will irritate any unstable pelvis regardless of the direction.

The elliptical is a tricky one.  Hopping on the elliptical and cycling your legs in a backward position may not be a good choice as the primary movement in the beginning  tends to drive the pelvis in a posterior position.  If you have a dysfunctional pelvis and you want to continue using the elliptical, take notice whether or not there is any irritation when you change the direction you are moving, forwards or backwards.  Take the irritating direction out.

Don’t forget about swimming which is great exercise for the whole body.  While you are rehabbing your pelvis, hold a pull buoy between your thighs and just use your arms.  This will take out kicking which can irritate a dysfunctional pelvis.

Probably the best choice is the upright stationary bike.  When you are cycling,  your pelvis does not have to move like it does when you are standing and doing cardio.  Your pelvis is much more fixed and you can move your ankles, knees and hips for exercise.  Getting up out of the saddle, like what is done during spinning, is not going to be a good choice because now you are standing.  Finally, staying away from using lots of tension will also be beneficial.  Too much tension causes the muscles to work harder and they may pull a bit too much across your pelvis and low back joints.

So, bottom line is, if you want to continue with stationary cardio, using a bike with a moderate amount of tension will be your best choice.  While you are waiting to get back to doing everything you were doing before, start working on your core stabilization exercises to help keep the pelvis where is should be.


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