The squat and the deadlift are two movements found in every strength and conditioning gym- with good reason.
These two movements not only build raw strength, but they are needed for two of the most common movements in life.
Getting off a chair or couch (aka a squat) and picking up anything off the ground (aka a deadlift).
So what if you know this and that’s why you train these movements, but you’ve hit a wall? It’s a familiar story. No matter how often you work out, your personal best of 12 months ago just won’t budge.
I’ve competed in Olympic Weightlifting, Power Lifting and coached many people to personal bests over the past 17 years.
There are 6 things your body needs to be optimal (not just good) in order to allow your body to be better than its previous self.
- Healthy – no signs of injury or sickness for an extended period of time
- Rest – adequate quality sleep for multiple nights consecutively
- Fuel – adequate amount of the right foods needed for you to produce power and strength
- Mental Clarity – 100% mentally dialed in on your lift. Kids, work, study, worries or whatever it may be needs to out of your mind.
- Volume of training – Have you done the necessary work to develop the level of strength needed to be better?
- Neutral Pelvis Position – This allows the muscles required to squat and deadlift the best chance to fire optimally without risking injury
Let’s assume you have 1 through 5 all ticked off. Excellent. We now need to dive into Number 6, the neutral pelvis position.
Let’s have a closer look at this…
What exactly is a neutral pelvis?
Having balanced hips requires symmetry.
One side can’t be rotated forward more than the other side.
It also means your hips aren’t tilted too far forwards or backwards.
Finally, it also means your hips aren’t elevated higher on one side compared to the other. Sounds complex? It can be!
But if any of these things are happening, it will cause imbalance in your muscles.
For example, if your hips are tilted too far forward, your hip flexors (the muscles on the front of the hips) will be too tight and your glutes (the muscles at the back of the hip) will be over stretching.
This will cause you to have significantly less power coming out of the squat as your tight/dominant hip flexors will want to work when your glutes need to and this also increases your risk of injury under significant load.
How can you tell if your hips are not neutral?
If you are standing with your feet together and your hips swing forward in one direction, a rotation is probably present.
When laying down flat, if one leg is longer than the other one, it’s a clue your hips may be elevated on one side. Finally, if you have an excessive curve in your lower back, your hips are tilted too far forward.
Ok, I’m pretty sure my hips aren’t neutral. What can I do about it?
With the right tools, you can correct your pelvis alignment and get it to a neutral position.
This usually involves a multi-pronged approach, combining the correct alignment exercises and stretching of right tightened muscles to reset your imbalance.
But rest assured, there’s plenty you can do to reset your pelvis position and allow you to bust through your old personal best lifts.
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