Functional Training Institute

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Movement Sins – Excessive Posterior Pelvic Tilt

We’re on the 4th of 7 common Movement Sins we find working with clients, and we’re still focusing on the hips.

So far we’ve covered:

  1. Medial (Valgus) Knees
  2. Trendelenburg Sign in the Hips
  3. Lumbar Hyper-Lordosis / Excessive Anterior Pelvic Tilt.

All these relate to the hip, but generally speaking are caused from dominance and hypertonicity through the front line of our body (more specifically, in our quads, hip flexors and adductors). But the 4th movement sin draws attention instead to excessive tightness in the back line of our body…

Movement Sin:


We’ll commonly notice this in a hinge or squat movement. You might the term “butt wink” when talking about squats? We’re talking about that rounding of the lumbar spine as you go down into a hinge or squat. For some this only happens when the weight they are lifting (in a deadlift, for example) is very heavy, while for others they move like this all the time and struggle to change their hip and spine position while hinging and squatting.

Moving the spine this way under load becomes very problematic over time – it causes lumbar disc irritation, leading to disc herniations and bulges (that are referred to by many as a “slipped disc”), so this movement sin is absolutely essential to tune into so that we can ensure healthy spines and pain-free movement for our clients.

And it should also be noted that this doesn’t have to be very exaggerated in movement for the excessive posterior pelvic tilt to take its toll on the body. While for some it may be very obvious that the hips are rolling down, causing the loss of curve in the lumbar spine and that rounding, it can be subtle! If you notice any roll out/change of the natural lumbar curve at the bottom of a deadlift, swing or squat then this is something we need to address.

The key muscle imbalance that causes this poor movement habit is:

Posterior Hip – Hamstrings, Glutes and Adductor Magnus dominating the Multifidus.

When those big posterior chain muscles are hypertonic and tight they prevent the hips from pushing back freely in a hinge and squat, this overpowers the Multifidus (the primary muscle responsible for holding the lumbar spine in that natural lordotic curve) and the body borrows the mobility from the lumbar, causing that rounding of the spine we see.

What do we do improve this:

  1. Release the dominant muscles – the Glutes, Hamstrings and Adductor Magnus.

– Personally I love a Kettlebell to effectively get into these muscles effectively.

  1. Build pelvic control so clients know how their hips and spine should ideally be moving.

– Using a swissball to take the hips through anterior to posterior pelvic tilts can assist with this.

  1. Activate and strengthen the Multifidus
  • The Mountain and Valley exercise from our MRC course is the best place to start here.*
  1. Choose appropriate weights and use tactile and consistent verbal cues with regular practice to ensure clients can complete hinge and squat patterns without any “butt wink” before progressing any load.

This is a very common, and can also be a very challenging, movement sin to tackle. But it’s also, in my opinion, the first priority when it comes to movement restoration and movement quality.

Be vigilant, team!

It’s really important we tune into any change in the lumbar spine curve and address it quickly – don’t ignore it and continue to progress weights if you notice that rounded spine, and it can appear quite subtly in some cases.

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