Many riders suffer with back pain, with the lower back usually being the main area of injury. This article is going to focus on a basic little exercise which can help build and engage the core whilst also helping to support the lower back. As a rider, stopping back pain and improving your core strength are two incredibly important aspects of training and could really help boost your performance.
The Pelvic Tilt is an easy action which engages the abdominals and leads to the increased lower back flexibility and stability. The idea behind the pelvic tilt is that it makes the core work harder and takes the pressure off the spine.
With a lot of core exercises it is very easy to think that you are performing them correctly, however, more often than not, many people don’t actually engage the core properly and therefore use their lower back to support themselves instead. Learning this simple exercise will ensure that your core workouts are effective and will help to alleviate lower back pain.
Here’s how you perform the pelvic tilt: Lay on the floor on your back with your knees bent and place a towel under your lower back. Then, clench your stomach muscles and press your back to the ground. This is the pelvic tilt. In order to check that you are doing it correctly pull on the towel and it shouldn’t move, it should remain pressed down by your body. Remember to breathe nice and slowly and try and hold the pelvic tilt action for six seconds.
So, this is the basis of the pelvic tilt, once you get the hang of the movement, there are variations of the pelvic tilt which increase the difficulty and work your abs and back that bit harder. See the images below for exercises you can do whilst performing the pelvic tilt.
The easiest pelvic tilt exercises are done with your knees bent as you lay down. In the first exercise you need to start with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Then engage the core, pushing your back into the towel and lift your feet off of the ground alternating the legs.
For the next exercise you start in the same position; Feet on the ground, knees bent. Then, engage the core, pushing your back into the towel and this time lift both of your feet off the ground, keeping your back pushed into the towel and your core tight. When your feet are in the air, test that you are performing the pelvic tilt by trying to pull the towel out from underneath you. If the towel moves, you need to push your core downwards more.
If you are finding these easy, starting with your legs straight and up in the air is the starting point for harder exercises. To begin with, start with your legs up in the air and straight and alternate putting each leg down and back up again, making sure you are performing the pelvic tilt as you do it.
The hardest variation of the pelvic tilt exercises is starting with both feet together and in the air and then whilst holding the core strong, slowly lowering both legs towards the ground and then lifting them back up to the start position.