GTP TV Episode 50: Neutral Pelvis

Welcome to episode 50 of Goalie Training Pro TV! I told you there’d be cupcakes and there were.


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We’re going to talk about neutral pelvis today. And we did a pretty comprehensive episode on this, way back… I think we were in the single digits actually. So I just wanted to revisit it for you ’cause its come up again.

What made me think of it and what made me think it’s time to revisit it was Conner Hellebuyck was talking about before he goes on the ice kinda what his preparation is like. And one of the things he talked about was, I can’t remember if he actually used the term neutral pelvis, I think he said he works on his pelvic positioning or something like that.

But it was really cool because it was the first time I’d heard sort of someone else talking about it and a goalie using it.

This all started with a conversation I had with Thomas Magnuson, who’s the head of Swedish goaltending developing. Probably three years ago we were at the Network Goaltending conference and we were talking about Carey Price and how balanced and controlled he is on the ice. And we were talking about how he used to ride rodeo and grew up horseback riding. And I trained an equestrian athlete here at Revolution and that… a lot of the control of the horse comes from very subtle movements of the pelvis.

And so we were just supposing that I wonder if that sort of helped him. I’ve actually asked Carey since then like, do you think that had an impact? And he’s like, “I don’t really know I just tried, my dad always said be pretty calm out there and I try to be calm out there”.

But what we’re talking about with this neutral pelvis and why it makes sense is so many of you are tight in your hip flexors. So you’re tight in the front of your hip. One of your hip flexors is a quadricep muscle that crosses your knee and then attaches right here to the front of your pelvis. Another hip flexor kind of comes from toward the top of your thigh bone and it actually kind of goes through you and attaches to the front of your lumbar vertebrae. So it kind of goes, cuts through you and attaches to your spine.

Now just picture if these are like ropes or like elastic cords that went from your pelvis and crossed your knee.

Well if I got that tighter what happens? It pulls my pelvis forward.

And even that one that goes from toward the top of my thigh bones back onto my lumbar spine, well if I shorten that or if I tighten that what happens? Well it pulls me as well.

So you can see and like this isn’t necessarily an exaggeration, some of you really have weird pelvis positions when you’re on the ice.

So now what’s happening with my pelvis is… When those are tight or just when I’m not aware of my mechanics on the ice and I get pulled well now my pelvis is rotated forward that’s called an anterior pelvis tilt. What that does is closes down the front of my hip joint. So when I’m in neutral pelvis I can flex my hip up and it’s pretty good. But when I tilt my pelvis forward now I’ve closed down the front. And now that is literally, even if I hold on for balance, I can’t get my knee very high.

So imagine you’re in that position and now I’ve got a skate blade on and I’m trying to recover to get a good push. I can’t get my skate up underneath me as well as I should. Plus I’m running out of room so I’m probably really closing down the front of that hip joint and maybe even I’m coming into the full end range of motion. And really we’d rather operate sort of in an optimal range of motion.

So if I can maintain neutral pelvis on the ice then I’ve got all sorts of room to push and to use my hip point.

So two things, less wear and tear on my hip because I’m not sort of trying to smash into end range. Plus I can get in those positions that I need to be without just getting stuck as I go.

So that’s why it’s so important.

This is how you can find it.

If you lie on the floor, don’t do this in the gym people will think you’re creepy weirdo. But you lie on the floor, and maybe for you if you’re tight in the front of the hips it would be a good idea just to softly bend your knees. But what you’ll do is you’re gonna find your hip bones, so the two sides of the pelvis they’re called your ASIS. You’re going to find your ASIS on each side and then you’re also gonna find your pubic symphysis which is sort of that bony part of your pelvis right in the front.

So you’re gonna kinda of put your hands on there it makes a little triangle and you’ll tilt until that triangle is kind of flat. Or if you had a bowl of water on there, you know, that bowl would be nice and flat. And that is your neutral pelvis. So then you kind of take a little mental snapshot.

Now you could also do an experiment and see how tight your hips are (and it’s not a definitive experiment it’s kind of a rough thing but…) if you get neutral pelvis and then when you straighten your legs the water’s spilling out of the bowl towards your legs then you know, hey I’m tight in the front of my hip so when I straighten my legs out that’s pulling me into that anterior pelvic tilt. So with an anterior pelvis tilt you’ll see I’ve got a huge space under my back.

And if I was to spill the water towards my stomache that would be a posterior pelvic tilt which isn’t really usually a big problem for you guys.

So, take home message is to be aware of your pelvic position on the ice. ‘Cause some of you it might not be that your hips are that tight that it’s pulling you there but just you’re kind of lazy in that position. A lot of you because you sit a lot, because you’re on the ice in you’re ready position which is a flexed hip you really are tight in the front of your hip so get on there with a lacrosse ball, get on there doing a bit of your hip flexor stretches.

So the stretch where you’re stretching your hip flexors and tuck your bum underneath… When I do this stretch at camps or with teams a lot of you are here like, leaning really far forward and thinking “oh yeah I’m really flexible”. Well, that’s back extension, that’s anterior pelvic tilt. So stay straight and tuck your bum underneath and get a stretch in the front of your thigh, front of your hip as you go.

And then the other one that you’ll feel probably more in the front of your thigh is just bringing that heel towards your bum. So that will get more of that one that comes across your knee and up. The one where you tuck your bum under and feel it a little more up in your hip will get more of that one that comes from here and attaches to your lumbar spine.

So there’s a little quick revisit of anterior pelvic tilt and what it is. Hugely important from both a performance perspective and reduces wear and tear on your hips.

See ya. Happy 50th episode! I hope you guys get cupcakes.