Functional Training Institute

WEDNESDAY WISDOM: Movement Sins – Lumbar Hyperlordosis

Lumbar Hyperlordosis

The 3rd of 7 common Movement Sins we are exploring is also related to the hips….

Movement Sin:


This refers to the Anterior Pelvic Tilt, where the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS) of the pelvis will drop and will low, causing an excessive curve of the lumbar spine.

This hip position is a very common one, and can cause lower back pain as it compresses the lumbar vertebrae. On some people it can be very obvious and a posture they are stuck in, while in others it can be more subtle or only become prominent when they are under load – at the top of a deadlift, an overhead press, in a push up or at the top of squat for instance.

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

Hip Flexors dominating the Glutes and the Abdominal muscles.

When the hip flexors are hypertonic they draw the pelvis down, forcing the core to be stuck at length and inhibiting the glutes and hamstrings from activating and firing to their fullest potential.

What do we do to improve this:

  1. Release the dominant muscles – the Hip Flexors, spend time on the whole quad group.
  2. Build pelvic control so clients know where their hips should ideally be sitting both in movement and while simply standing around or walking.

To do this I like to use the cue “Close the Gap”:

This refers to closing the gap between the hips (the ASIS) and the rib cage, by drawing the tailbone under the body gently (see image in this post). You can help clients get into this position by placing their fingers on their ASIS and ribs and physically seeing the gap shorten as they draw the tailbone under and forward. Give this a try yourself and what do you notice? Hopefully you can feel your core muscles engage and your glutes activate gently too. This is the position we want to maintain to ensure our core and glutes are strong and supporting our spine and movement.

  1. Build strength, coordination and awareness in the body position by completing activation exercises like Dead Bugs, Bird Dogs and Kneeling Hip Flexor Pulses fire the core and glutes.
  2. Continue using consistent cueing in all their movements to “close the gap” when overhead pressing, standing tall in a deadlift, even at the top of a squat.

As mentioned, this movement sin can cause a lot of lower back discomfort, particularly if clients are falling into this position under load!

So if your client complains of lower back pain in deadlifts, swings, or any other exercise and you notice an anterior pelvic tilt, try releasing the hip flexors and then teaching them to “close the gap” in their movement – this simple hack can eliminate that back discomfort for many people and allow them to move pain-free!

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