As I’ve mentioned plenty of times previously, a lateral pelvic tilt is not something that occurs in isolation from the other functions of the body.
All tilts of the pelvis, whether it’s an anterior tilt, posterior tilt, or lateral tilt, has its origin in the respiratory system.
To be more precise, it has its origin in the fact that all humans, every single one, has a right diaphragm that is bigger and stronger than its counter-part on the left.
That means 23,000 muscular contractions a day that are stronger on the right side of the spine than on the left side of the spine.
Over time the right diaphragm’s stronger rotational pull on our lumbar spine begins to orient our entire pelvis to the right as the left side of the pelvis rotates forward compared to the right side.
This is called the Left AIC pattern by the Postural Restoration Institute.
The Role of the Glutes in the Lateral Pelvic Tilt
The glutes primary role in human movement is to push us forward during walking. But this forward push should happen in a more diagonal/rotational manner.
Our right glute pushes us forward and to the left.
The left glute pushes us forward and to the right.
When our pelvis gets stuck oriented to the right in the left AIC pattern, the altered resting position of our pelvic bones and legs necessitate that the glutes change their function.
It’s a biomechanical rule that as a bone changes its position, the muscles that attach to that bone change their function.
In the Left AIC pattern:
- the right glute maintains its function of pushing us forward/posterior rotation of the pelvis/and hip extension, but it weakens in its other task: pushing us to the left. As a result we spend too much of our life living on our right side. We never effectively shift our center of mass over to the left. So it weakens in the frontal and transverse plain.
- The left glute is just plain old weak. Due to the flexed left hip, the left glute loses strength and can’t posteriorly rotate the pelvis. We definitely put our weight on our left leg, but we stabilize with the wrong muscles, usually the hip flexors and lower back. The left glute needs to assist the left hamstring in posteriorly rotating the left pelvis during upright activity (walking) and pushing us forward and to the right.
The glutes have no active role in causing a lateral pelvic tilt, but restoring their proper function is necessary to resolving the tilt once it is already there.
The Origins of Lateral Pelvic Tilt
As I’ve written elsewhere, underneath any lateral pelvic tilt is the left AIC pattern that is caused by asymmetrical forces placed upon the spine from our asymmetrically designed respiratory system. The bigger right diaphragm pulls us to the right.
Which side of the pelvis ends up higher is mostly irrelevant because the underlying asymmetry is always the same.
So to get rid of a tilt, which is really an asymmetric resting position of the pelvis, we need to re-establish the ability for our pelvis to rest in a symmetrical position.
This means that you have to use the left hamstring, and proper breathing, to pull the left side of the pelvis backwards into neutral.
Then you need to strengthen the right glute max so that we can effectively push our center of mass over to the left when we walk.
If you only concentrate on the left side musculature, once you return to normal life after your exercises you may not have the required right glute strength to unload your right side and shift your center of mass fully over to the left.
The exercises listed on this page are beginner PRI exercises that are designed to accomplish those tasks.