Kicking off another New Year means getting back into exercise for many people. It’s this recommitment to training that the exercise enthusiasts will use to motivate themselves to get back in the gym or start on the quest for long runs again. There is a principle of technique and position that will help with either one of these endeavors. It’s what we call keeping the bucket full. If you think of your pelvis as a “bucket,” then think about keeping your pelvis level or in line under your shoulders. A great reminder here is that if you imagine your pelvis as a bucket, you don’t want water to pour out of the front, back or sides. The reason for this is if you tilt your pelvis out of alignment in this way your low back (lumbar spine) will follow and go into flexion or extension in a way that adds load and stress. A great example is when a runner tilts their pelvis forward (water pouring out of the front of the bucket) the lumbar goes into more extension placing stress on the low back which can be exacerbated with every step. The stress often can turn into tension and even pain. So following this tip can help avoid that unwanted low back stress or pain that can sideline us when restarting an exercise program.
The following movements in the gym can help carryover to a better position and maintaining a neutral lumbo-pelvic position that is key for core engagement and maintaining a strong position.
Purpose: The opposite flexion and extension of the hips helps to reduce any lumbar extension and focuses on pelvic neutral while the hips are doing the important extension work.
Purpose: The split squat mimics the same hip flexion/extension pattern used in walking and running. Now add the band pulls in opposite directions with the arms to engage the core before descending into the split squat because this helps to maintain the pelvic position (bucket).
Purpose: This position takes a high intensity exercise and then adds an added challenge with the overhead position. This removes the countermovement of the arms and adds to the challenge of proper position and level pelvis (full bucket).