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Pelvic Slings - what is the hype?

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

What are the pelvic slings?

What is the craze with fascial sling training versus isolated muscle group training?

Show me some ways to start myofascial sling training from home!

The nitty gritty?

“Anatomical slings” are comprised of muscle, fascia and ligaments- all working together to create stability and mobility throughout our bodies (Vleeminget al 1993; 2012). The complex system of selective co-contraction between the deep and superficial structures provide the basis of dynamic stability of the body during movement.

A muscle contraction produces a force that spreads beyond the origin and insertion of the active muscle. These forces are transmitted through structures within an anatomical sling, allowing forces to be produced away from the origin of the initial muscle contraction. The muscles depicted within a myofascial sling are connected via facia to produce these forces that assist in the transfer of load within the pelvis and lumbar spine.

Disturbance or imbalance of the slings can cause micro trauma and alteration of the body’s biomechanics during static or dynamic tasks.

Often, we find that when there is a weak component in the sling, clinicians don’t address the slings and movement pattern- but rather the individual muscles. At Physiolistic, we incorporate sling assessment and individualized training programmes.

The lumbopelvic complex (where your lumbar spine meets your pelvis) distributes the load and maintains stability of the body, allowing complex movements to take place. This is done through the help of slings!

Let’s see those slings!

1) Anterior oblique sling (AOS)

Muscles: external oblique, internal oblique, contralateral hip adductor, abdominal fascia

Function in Sport:

- Increased firing in the transition between walking

and running

- Important for increasing speed and acceleration

- Prominent in tennis, hockey, soccer, basketball:



Sudden acceleration and deceleration in changing

direction/ motion

Examples of AOS training: bear crawls, Russian twists, lunge with twist...

Vleeming et al. 2012; Chek et al. 2011

2) Posterior Oblique Sling (POS)

Muscles: gluteus maximus, contralateral latissimus dorsi, inter-connecting thoracolumbar fascia

During sport:

The POS plays a big role in stabilizing the lower spine, the sacroiliac joint as well as controlling leg to torso movement.

It plays a big role in the spring mechanism of each stride and if

trained properly, provides explosive strength!

Examples of POS training: quadruples bird dog/ standing supermen

Vleeming et al. 2012; Chek et al. 2011

3) Deep Longitudinal Sling (DLS)

Muscles: Erector spinae, multifidi, thoracolumbar fascia, biceps femoris, sacrotuberus ligaments

Functions in sport:

Supports and approximates the body

through the pelvis, provides postural support and

helps act against potential injuries by preventing

damage from sheer forces

Examples of DLS training:

Straight leg deadlift, reverse hamstring curl on a physio ball, side bridge

Vleeming et al. 2012; Chek et al. 2011

4) Lateral Sling:

Muscles: gluteus medius, guteus minimus, tensor fascia latae, illiotibial band, contralateral quadratus lumborum

Functions in sport: Provides stability during single leg activity,

prevents pelvic movement as well as provides stability to the

hip joint- think how important this is during running-

never mind the benefits during contact sports!

Examples of lateral sling training: hip hitches, side lunges,

widespread running on the spot with a theraband around

the ankles

Vleeming et al. 2012; Chek et al. 2011

This is an introduction to slings and sling training. Contact us or book in for a comprehensive sling assessment and individualised sling training programme which will be progressed to be as functional as possible to your specific sport!

Tom Workman

Senior Physiotherapist


Chek, P. Core Stability: The Outer Unit. International Association of Athletics Federations, NSA 1-2.00, 2011.

Vleeming, A; Mooney, V; Stoeckart, R. Movement, Stability & Lumbopelvic Pain, Integration of Research and Therapy. UK: Churchill Livingstone, 1993

Vleeming, A; Schuenke, M; Masi, A; Carreiro, J; Danneels, L; Willard, F. The sacroiliac joint: an overview of its anatomy, function and potential clinical implications. Journal of

Anatomy, Volume 221, Issue 6, 2012. Pages 537-567.

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