The pelvis is an important player that connects the lower extremity and trunk. Therefore, it deserves attention and respect when emphasizing proper biomechanics and movement. This is especially true during running and single leg stance.
The first thing to consider when it comes to positioning of the pelvis is it’s levelness during single leg activities, such as running, walking up/down stairs, strength training, etc. Poor stability and control surrounding the pelvis can present as a positive Trendelenburg Sign. This term refers to a position where the opposite side pelvis, from that which you are standing on, is actually dropped in a lower position (see image below).
When this happens, stability is inadequate and more stress will likely be loaded onto the hip, spine, and lower extremity. Not to mention it is very inefficient and can be a contributor to lower back pain, hip bursitis, gluteus medius tendinopathy, and patellofemoral syndrome.
What can you do about it?
The first step when addressing pelvic control and stability is teaching the pelvis how to be properly positioning during single leg stance. The hip hike walking drill is very neuromuscular and reinforces the ‘opposite side lift’ that should happen when in single leg stance.
One thing to realize with this drill is that is does not need to be exaggerated. The opposite side pelvis should be level with or slightly higher than the stance side. As long as it is doesn’t drop, then you are in a good position for success.
From there, increasing the demand by holding single leg stance is important. Since I’m a huge fan of marching drills, you can simply perform a hip hike followed by a sustained hold in the marching position. This can be performed for a series of repetitions and even loaded with one or two dumbbells to challenge the position. Once loaded, maintain emphasis on position of the pelvis and don’t just stand haphazardly on one leg. The position is what matters!
In the following video, let’s talk about the importance of pelvic position during running and single leg stance. Also, the hip hike walking and hip hike to single leg stance drills will be explained in greater detail.
Now that you have a better understanding of proper pelvic position while in single leg stance, it’s important for you to implement this concept within your strength training program. Exercises that require positional control at the pelvis are lunges, step ups, step downs, single leg squats, etc. So next time you perform any of them, make sure you reinforce the position of the pelvis so strength and stability can be built around it. This will help create the best long-term success and resilience to injury.
Have any questions about this topic or currently struggling with lower back, hip, or knee pain? Contact me so we can evaluate the pelvis and surrounding area to determine the best course of action to become pain-free and/or improve running performance.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART