Where is your butt and what is it doing? This is the question I posed to a client of mine who was having some difficulty getting and keeping his pelvis in a neutral position. This particular client is on an FBI SWAT team. That, in it’s own right, gives him credibility that he’s basically a badass. Even bad asses can make simple movement errors that turn into larger scale problems!
He, like most athletes that I work with and especially tactical athletes is constantly in an overextended lower back position. Add on to that wearing body armor and sitting in cars watching drug dealers all day. That’s a perfect storm for hip and lower back dysfunction. Weird, that’s the reason he was in my office.
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. It’s primarily a hip extensor and lateral rotator. It also can be used nicely to help put our pelvis into a neutral position. This is the easiest way I have found to help athletes get out of an overextended lower back. The spine connects to the pelvis. Put the pelvis in a good position and the lower back will also end up in a good position.
Here’s a simple test. Stand up with your feet under your hips. Now squeeze your butt as hard as you can. I mean as hard as you would if someone threatened to credit card swipe you! Here’s the link to the urban dictionary definition of what Credit Card Swiping is if you don’t know. If you feel a large change in the angle of your pelvis, you are most likely living in overextension. If you have no change in your pelvis, you most likely have a neutral pelvic position, congratulations on being normal!
You have to know if you have a neutral pelvis or not. This will effect you in almost all movements you do athletically. It sure as hell dictates what your back position looks like when you squat. If you have pain when you squat, do yourself a favor and squeeze your butt before you squat. It could be the difference between pain and a PR!
-Dr. Danny, PT, DPT
Dr. Danny and staff's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.