Prone Ankle Squeezes is one the exercises you could try to fix your pelvic rotation.
Have you ever been told that you rotate your upper or low body while walking? It is a very common postural deviation. When in the mall, walk towards a big mirror and notice whether you rotate your pelvis with each step. It usually looks as if one side of the pelvis is moving more forward with each step. If you cannot see it, look if one of your hips is higher than another. Or if you need to adjust the length of your pants, one side been shorter than another. The height difference is often a result of the pelvic rotation. You can change it with special postural exercises. Prone Ankle Squeezes is just one of many that address postural deviations.
Prone Ankle Squeezes Instructions
- You will need a regular bed pillow as a prop. Fold it to create a proper resistance for this exercise.
You can also use a yoga block instead.
- Lie on the floor on your stomach.
- Put your chin on your hands, elbows out to the sides.
- Keep your knees slightly wider than your hips.
- Place a folded pillow between your ankles and bend your knees so they are vertical towards the floor.
- Squeeze the pillow with your ankles/feet and release.
- Do three sets of 20. You may start with three sets of 10 and gradually build it up.
What to pay attention to during Prone Ankle Squeezes:
- Keep your upper body relaxed.
- Do NOT use your knees for squeezing. Only ankles and feet should be working for the proper muscle engagement.
- Please be aware of your feet position. Really focus on squeezing that block with entire inside part of the feet, from ankle down to the big toe. Do NOT move your big toes away from a pillow or a block.
- Please keep the lower leg strictly vertical to the floor; do NOT bend your knees more than 90 degrees.
- You should feel the glutes engagement as you press your feet and ankles into the pillow.
- If you have hard time finding the muscles in gluteal area (your butt) in Prone Ankle Squeezes, spread your knees wider (second picture down).
What happens during Prone Ankle Squeezes?
When you are squeezing a block or a pillow, you are working the pelvic stabilizers using external rotators of the femur. You are engaging several important muscle groups: external rotators of hip joints and deep six muscles.
These muscles are involved in walking. If they don’t function properly, your gait is negatively affected. Your gluteal muscles should propel you forward at the moment the heel of the leg behind leaves the ground. Most of us in the modern sitting-all-day society have their gluteal muscles week. When we walk, we push their pelvis forward, instead of engaging the butt muscles in proper hip flexion-extension during the gait.
Prone Ankle Squeezes Modifications
You can also try a slightly different version that does not use a pillow: just widen your knees and place the bottoms of your feet together to press and release.
People with posterior pelvic tilt (‘tucking’ the tailbone under and sitting a lot) may benefit from Prone Ankle Squeezes done in kneeling position. It is much harder to ‘tuck’ your pelvis under when you are kneeling.
Which version to choose? You can use whatever version of Prone Ankle Squeezes, as long as you get the gluteal muscle engagement.
Who will benefit from Prone Ankle Squeezes?
It is a great exercise for people who habitually use the external hip rotators to walk instead of proper hip flexion-extension. See Condition I description. You can recognize this condition if somebody walks with everted feet like a duck.
If you are more Condition III person, you will most benefit from engaging the external hip rotators and glutes in a kneeling position.
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