Fitness tip – Pelvic position for dips

Fitness tip – Pelvic position for dips

by Evigan Xiao 25 Feb 2020

Have you ever suffered from back aches while doing dips? It doesn’t seem like it should happen – the dip is an upper-body exercise, so why would it be stressing the lower body? The truth is, poor pelvic posture can still affect you even if you’re putting any load on it.

 

When it comes to dips, most people would probably adopt a starting position like this:

 

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

Now technically, this isn’t wrong per se. The shoulders are drawn back and down, along with a strong extension in the thoracic spine. The joints of the shoulder, elbow and wrist are also stacked, minimsing the moment arm for maximum efficiency. If one were to perform a set of dips like that, there would be no problem as far as upper body mechanics are confirmed.

 

If you look at the lumbar area however, you’d notice that there’s a fair amount of extension going on. In fact, if it were a standing position you’d probably find that it bears a striking resemblance to what happens in anterior pelvic tilts (APT). APT is commonly expressed with individuals with spend long amounts of time seated, and is typically accompanied with some degree of lower back pain. While the tilt shown in the picture may or may not be linked with APT, improper pelvic position combined with the weight of gravity acting on it can nonetheless pull it into an anterior tilt.

 

Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Engaging the hip muscles during dips can be done by simply pointing the toes towards the floor. This cue automatically realigns your pelvis into a more neutral position, and should alleviate it of any pressure. Note that this should be an active cue as taking a more passive approach to it can affect its efficacy, especially when fatigue starts to accumulate.

 

Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit

 

This cue can also be utilised for chin-ups and pull-ups, where a lack of hip control can result in similar consequences as with dips and even affect performance. As you become stronger and start adding external loading to your movements, keeping this position becomes even more essential, especially where exercise longevity is concerned.