How Pilates can solve pelvic instability

Sep 30, 2020

No matter what sport you are doing, as athletes we want to ensure we have a strong, stable core and balanced muscles in order to maximise our power output.

However, a common issue amongst athletes in all sports is pelvic instability. Pelvic instability can be seen when the pelvis ‘wobbles’ from side to side – think of the cyclists whose hips move from side to slide with every pedal stroke or the runner whose hip drops to the side every time their foot hits the ground.

This movement of the pelvis occurs when the core muscles are not strong enough to maintain stability and when there is a muscle imbalance.

Pelvic instability has two main impacts – it can cause pain, and it can have an impact on an athlete’s performance.

Let's look at pain first.

Movement of the pelvis can result in overuse of the back muscles, resulting in fatigue in the back as well as back pain. Additionally, if an athlete can’t manage the rotation of their lumbar spine that is occurring due to pelvic instability, it will put further pressure on the lumbar discs.

It is also important to note that an athlete may start out with good pelvic stability, however as they start to get tired, they can lose form and then pelvic instability can occur.

The other impact we mentioned was that an athlete’s optimal performance levels aren't achieved due to wasted power.

Newton stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If we apply this to cycling, for example, then each time the cyclists' legs push down into the pedals, an equal and opposite force is generated up into the trunk.

Remember, you can’t shoot a cannon whilst sitting on a canoe in water. If your core muscles (powerhouse) are not strong enough to keep your pelvis still, then your pelvis will wobble, which will result in you losing power and not being able to exert the maximum amount of power.

Let’s refer to the video at the top of this page to see highlight the impact pelvic instability has on a runner.

So, how can Pilates For Sports help athletes?

Every exercise in our program starts by getting you to engage your core. So with every exercise we are strengthening your core and teaching you to effectively engage your core so you can have a strong and stable trunk and pelvis.

We also teach you how to engage your core when you are training and competing, therefore the benefits are twofold:

• Firstly, a strong core will adequately support your back. Engaging your core can also keep the pelvis stable, which will help prevent overuse of your back muscles, which in turn will prevent back pain.

• Secondly, a strong powerhouse and stable pelvis will enable you to effectively absorb the massive forces you are generating, which means less wasted energy and more power.

Try the Pilates For Sports 7-day free trial now to see how our customised programs can help you!

Noeleen O'Shea is the co-founder of Pilates for Sports, an online training program designed to improve your core strength, muscle balance and technique so that you can perform better at your sport with less pain, more power.


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