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Lower Back Pain in Marching Band - How to Avoid it!

Why is Lower Back Pain So Common in Marching Band?

When we hold our instruments in front of us, it shifts our center of gravity forward. To counterbalance this, many of us instinctively lean back, causing an arch in the lower back. This is a natural response to maintain balance, but it can strain the lower back area.

The Problem is in the Pelvis

Our spine and pelvis work together like a connected system. So, when we adjust one, the other is also affected. For instance, if we arch our back, it naturally tilts our pelvis forward - this is known as an anterior pelvic tilt. Conversely, when we flatten our back, our pelvis tilts backward, called a posterior pelvic tilt. Specifically, when holding equipment and leaning back, as shown in the image below, it results in an anterior pelvic tilt, where the pelvis tilts forward.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT), increases pressure in the lower back.

Posterior Pelvic Tilt (PPT), causes stiffness in the lower back.

Neutral pelvis holds the spine in proper alignment and reduces risk of developing

lower back pain. This is our goal while marching, and will require strength! 



Practice pelvic tilts on the floor by arching and flattening the lower back. This will build muscle awareness around the pelvis to help you train and perform better.

Practice them standing (or with your equipment on) to improve postural awareness.


2 Exercises YOU NEED For Better Pelvic Control

Hollow Sliders will train your lower abs to help with neutral pelvis. Keep the back flat at all times, hug the lower ribs in, and point the toe. Make the exercise harder by bringing the arms overhead and holding each rep longer. Aim for 3 sets of 15-45 seconds.

Glute Bridges will help train your gluteus maximus (your butt muscle), which also supports neutral pelvis. Squeeze hard and strive for a posterior pelvic tilt at the top, then maintain tension in the butt as you lower down. Make it harder by doing these with one leg! Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.


Next time you're carrying your equipment or performing to the box, pay attention to the position of your pelvis. Is it tilting forward or backward, or is it in a neutral position? To keep your pelvis neutral when you have weight in front of you, it's crucial to engage your lower abdominal muscles and glutes. If you don't, your back will arch, which can increase pressure on your lower back, potentially leading to pain and discomfort.


Want a stronger marching band that doesn't wobble while moving? Book a Forte Athletics Clinic! Email

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