Kneeling Pelvic Tilt
Target Muscle/s: Rectus femoris (lengthen) & Gluteus medius (strengthen)
Sets & Reps: 12 repetitions (each leg)
Tempo: Slow & controlled
Frequency: Morning mobility exercise and/or include in dynamic warm up
Running propulsion relies on recruitment of the powerful muscles on the back of the leg, i.e. glutes & hamstrings. For many runners, there is a tendency to favor use of the muscles on the front of the legs, i.e. the quadriceps, probably because they are naturally stronger and used more in other activities, e.g. cycling, squat jumps, burpees, etc. This may well explain why some runners, particularly those just starting out, develop pain in the knees.
The ‘Kneeling Pelvic Tilt’ can be a great exercise to relax the quadriceps and engage more with the posterior glutes. It can be easily done first thing in the morning and incorporated into a warm up (e.g. by adding them to a dynamic lunge). In contrast to the typical ‘pull your ankle up to your backside’ quad stretch, the kneeling tilt allows you lengthen the rectus femoris (the quad muscle that crosses the hip joint) without excessively arching the lower back. Result: more control of the stretch and more engagement of the gluteus maximus (buttock) muscle behind it.
Kneeling Pelvic Tilts: Hip Mobility For Runners - Video at sportinjurymatt.co.uk... Click To Tweet
• Get down into a kneeling lunge position, front and back knees at 90o. Make sure the back foot is up on tip toe (as seen in the video). Note how much tension you feel up the back leg, from the knee, up the thigh and across the hip. Chances are you will not feel much tension yet.
• Put your thumb on the front of your pelvis and fingers on the back; now slowly tilt the pelvis upwards so that your thumb moves up and the fingers down. Make sure the rest of your body does not move, i.e. the front knee should stay at 900. This upward tilt will typically cause a stretch sensation up the back thigh and/or across the hip and a contraction in the gluteus maximus muscle (buttock). The degree of sensation will vary from runner to runner. Maintain the sensation for three seconds and then slowly lower back to your original position.
• Back in your original position, how does your body feel now? The tension up the back thigh will have reduced, the buttock will be less contracted. Slowly repeat the upward tilt and feel these areas change. Perform 12 repetitions in total then swap legs.
Struggling To Get Movement?
For some runners, this ‘tilting’ movement will not come easily as it requires a coordination of muscle recruitment that your body may not be familiar with. You may need to practice the movement lying down (tilting your pelvis so your lower back touches the floor) in order to engage the necessary muscles, and then try it again in a kneeling position.
This tilting movement can also be added to dynamic lunges in a warm up and if you do suffer from knee niggles could well help prepare you better for the mobility demands of running. As always, consult a professional before embarking on any new exercise routine, especially if you are in pain.
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