How to Do the Pelvic Clock

Young man lying on a yoga mat after workout
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Pelvic clock is a very subtle exercise. The pelvis only moves an inch or so in each direction. While that may not sound interesting, smaller movements like these provide the foundation for understanding how to position the pelvis and engage the abs effectively. This exercise will also help reveal muscular imbalances of the back and abdominals.

Pelvic clock is about learning to slow down and bring the focus inside. From there, doing this movement with the abs and not the back, and doing it smoothly—balanced all the way around—may add up to an interesting exercise after all.

Set Up

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your legs will be parallel: ankles, knees, and hips are in one line.
  2. Make sure that your feet are lined up—toes pointing directly away from you. You will be in neutral spine position, allowing for a natural curve of the lumbar spine (lower back). Relax your neck and shoulders, bringing the shoulders away from the ears. Chest open, ribs dropped. Your head can be on a small pillow or your neck may be supported by a neck roll.
  3. Hand Position: Bring your hands together so that the fingertips of your index fingers are touching and your thumbs touch. Rest that flat shape down on your lower belly so that the tips of your fingers rest lightly on the top of your pubic bone, and your thumbs are near your navel. This will help you feel the movement of the pelvis.

Tune In

Take some time here to tune in with your body. Let your breath become deep. Allow your breath to expand your ribs evenly, and travel all the way to the lower abs.

The Clock

Imagine that there is a clock lying flat on your lower abdomen, where your hands are. Twelve o'clock is at your belly button, six o'clock is at the top of your pubic bone. Your hip bones are at nine and three.
You are going to engage your abdominals to move the pelvis. As you work, you will want to isolate the movement of the pelvis so that the upper body stays still and relaxed. Similarly, the hip sockets allow the pelvis to move without affecting the legs.

  1. Inhale, Exhale: Engage your abdominals so that they bring your belly button down to your spine, lengthening the spine along the floor in response. This will create a pelvic tilt where your clock is now no longer flat, but down at the twelve position (bellybutton) and up at the six (pubic bone).
  2. Inhale: Use your abs to rotate your clock down to the side so that the three o'clock hip is lower. ​​Continue on the inhale to move around the clock—tilting the pelvis until the six o'clock position is lowest. This will create a small arch in your low back.
  3. Exhale: Bring the movement around so that the nine o'clock hip is down. Continue your exhale as you bring your bellybutton, the twelve position, to the low point again
  4. Inhale: Repeat another cycle in the opposite direction, moving the 3 o'clock hip down.
  5. Repeat each direction 2 or three times and then reverse.


  • If the breathing pattern is confusing, do the exercise letting your breath flow naturally.
  • Focus on using the abdominals to initiate your movement. Other muscles will be involved, especially when you tilt the pelvis down at six, but the abs are primary movers.
  • As you move around the clock you may notice that your back is tighter on one side or another, or that your abdominals engage more easily on the right or left. Just keep breathing and moving and trying to let the movement be smooth. This is an exercise where release of tension, and inner attention, are what will make the biggest changes for you.
  • Pelvic Curl is a related exercise that will take the pelvic tilt further.
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