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Keep your lower back strong and flexible with pelvic tilts.
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Pelvic tilts are a gentle exercise for your core. You strengthen your abdominals and your lower back for strong torso support. Whether you perform the pelvic tilt from a lying or standing position, you can change the intensity of the exercise by raising one leg. The single-leg pelvic tilt challenges your core, glutes and balance as you support your body weight on one leg.
The supine pelvic tilt is a floor exercise performed in a face-up position. Your knees are bent with your feet flat on the floor. Your arms are also on the floor and in line with your shoulders out to your sides. The movement is very small as you exhale and tilt up your hips to press your lower back into the floor. Maintain this tilted position for about two seconds before you release and raise your lower back off the floor. Your hips tilt down as your pelvis moves in the opposite direction.
A Leg Up
During the pelvic tilt, raise one leg straight up for an increased challenge. The single-leg tilt is a nice variation when the traditional tilt becomes easy and you feel as if you could maintain the exercise for one or two minutes. Similar to the traditional tilt, the one-legged pelvic tilt provides relief if you have lower back discomfort, but offers greater strengthening benefits for your core. The single leg lift requires a stronger contraction in your abdominals to support that position. You also feel tightness in the glute of the supporting leg as it contracts to stabilize the tilt. When you release the tilt, your lower back contracts to improve strength and your abdominals stretch.
Dynamic Leg Lifts
Another way to perform the pelvic tilt with your leg lifted is to march your legs. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Keep your knee bent and raise your it off the floor as you maintain the pelvic tilt. Slowly lower your right leg and then lift your left. Continue alternating as if marching in place. You strengthen your abdominals as you maintain the tilted position.
Stand and Tilt
The standing pelvic tilt is for those who cannot easily get up and down off the floor. For example, if you're elderly have knee problems or are pregnant, you may enjoy the comfort of the standing pelvic tilt. You can do this exercise on one leg. Stand with your back against a wall and with your feet approximately 6 inches from the base of the wall. Your arms are at your sides. Shift your weight onto your right leg and slightly raise your left foot off the floor. Tilt up your hips to press your lower back into the wall and then tilt down your hips to create space between your lower back and the wall.
Perform the single-leg tilts two or thee days a week with at least one day of rest in between. The easiest day to add the tilts is when you do your core-strengthening exercises. Aim to perform one to three sets of eight to 12 tilts for each leg. The American Council on Exercise rates the pelvic tilt as a beginner exercise, so it's a valuable option if you are new to a fitness program. The single-leg tilt is more challenging, so begin with the traditional tilt to build your strength first.