Lumbo Pelvic Hip Complex - image of fitness client with a focus on the lumbo pelvic hip complex

The LPHC, or the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, is a group of muscles and connective tissues located in the back of the hip joint. These muscles play a crucial role in maintaining stability, balance, balance, and proper movement patterns in the lower body. Understanding and properly training the LPHC can help prevent injuries and improve overall athletic performance. 

As a NASM-certified personal trainer for over 12 years, I’ve spent many hours using exercises to train the LPHC with clients. In this article, I’ve given you an overview of how NASM defines the LPHC, and teaches you how to use corrective exercises to fix lumbo-pelvic-hip complex-related issues.

Be sure to take plenty of NASM practice exams to ensure your knowledge covers everything you need to pass your exam as you work through your NASM studying.

If you are prepping for the NASM CPT exam, make sure to go get my copy of the NASM exam cheat sheet.

You can also go to Trainer Academy for the best premium NASM CPT study materials, which includes multiple sets of NASM flashcards.

These save you valuable study time by 50% and include an exam pass guarantee. Read my full review of them here. You can also save $100 on their MVP study system with this code: PTPSUB

Introduction to LPHC and NASM

“LPHC” is indeed an acronym. It stands for “Lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.” The LPHC refers to the interconnected relationship between the interconnected relationship between the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joints, forming a crucial component of human movement and stability.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) is a well-known organization that provides education and certification for fitness professionals.

This acronym, “LPHC NASM,” is commonly used in the field of sports medicine and exercise science to refer to specific training protocols and assessments related to the lower posterior hip complex. Always make sure your NASM study plan includes these and other key client assessments.

NASM discusses LPHC in both their personal training certification and in more detail in the NASM Corrective Exercise Specialization

Anatomy and Function of the NASM LPHC

When you become a personal trainer, you’re going to be dealing with clients who have lower back issues or hip pain, so knowing the anatomy of the lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex and how to correct issues is key. 

Most corrective exercise certifications discuss the LPHC, but NASM’s CES gives one of the most detailed overviews. 

The LPHC plays a crucial role in human movement. It serves as a central hub connecting the upper and lower body, facilitating efficient transfer of forces during various activities. The LPHC acts as a stabilizer, providing support and maintaining proper alignment of the spine, pelvis, and hips. Additionally, it acts as a power generator, generating force for movements such as walking, running, and jumping. The muscles surrounding the LPHC, including the glutes, hip flexors, and core muscles, work together to control movement and maintain stability. Overall, LPHC is essential for optimal biomechanics and functional movement in daily activities and sports performance.

The lumbo-pelvic complex includes over 30 muscles that attach to the lumbar spine and pelvis. Any upper or lower body dysfunction can lead to LPHC issues and the other way around.

NASM goes into the anatomy of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. The three joints that connect the LPHC are the iliofemoral joint, sacroiliac joint, and lumbosacral joint.

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

The iliofemoral joint is where the femur is attached to the ilium. It is a ball and socket joint responsible for all three planes of motion.

The sacroiliac joint is toward the bottom of the pelvis with little movement.

The lumbosacral joint is where the lower back connects to the pelvis. 

In order to train the LPHC, you need to know the muscles that operate around it.

The NASM CPT gives you information about the key physiology associated with the LPHC:

  • Abdominals
  • Erector spinae
  • Gluteus maximus and medius
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip flexors
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Tensor fascia latae
  • Adductors
  • Gastrocnemius/soleus

Common Dysfunctions of the NASM LPHC

A dysfunctional LPHC, which stands for “lumbo-pelvic-hip complex,” can have a significant impact on movement patterns. The LPHC is a crucial area of the body that connects the lower back, pelvis, and hips, serving as a foundation for movement. When this complex is dysfunctional, it can lead to imbalances in muscle activation and coordination, resulting in altered movement patterns. For instance, an unstable LPHC may cause excessive hip rotation or pelvic tilt, leading to compensatory movements in other areas of the body. This can increase the risk of injuries and negatively affect overall functional performance. Therefore, addressing and correcting any dysfunction in the LPHC is essential for optimizing movement patterns and maintaining musculoskeletal health.

NASM says that any malalignment in the upper body such as the head of the humerus or elbow can negatively affect the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. In addition, poor breathing can impact the LPHC, along with any abdominal weakness that clients might have. 

Lack of stability in the LPHC can also cause lower body overuse problems like IT-band tendonitis, an ACL tear and patellofemoral pain syndrome, and plantar fasciitis.

Personal trainers need to know how to identify LPHC dysfunction, and if you’re a corrective exercise specialist, you need to master this topic. 

NASM’s Assessment of LPHC Alignment and Stability

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) provides trainers and fitness professionals with comprehensive and evidence-based strategies for assessing and correcting LPHC issues. By assessing the alignment and stabilization of the LPHC, fitness professionals can develop targeted exercise programs to address these issues and improve overall movement quality.

Common NASM LPHC assessments include the combination of static posture, movement pattern, and mobility assessments. 

Every person is different, so you need to know how to use tests to assess where they are at. 

​Looking at someone’s basic posture can tell you a lot. 

Exclusive PTP CPT Offers

Gold Standard Cert
NASM Gold Standard Personal Trainer Certification - Save 25&percnt off
Most Popular Cert
ISSA - Most Popular Online Personal Trainer Certification 3 Certs for
Best Study Materials
TA - Trainer Academy - Best Study Materials for Personal Trainer Certification Online - See MVP discount
A Good Option
ACE Certification- A Good Fitness Course Online Option - 25&percnt off
A Good Option
NCSF Certification - A Good Option - Save 25%
Best CPT for you?
Best CPT For You? Take the Personal Trainer Certification Online quiz and Get a Personalized Recommendation Just for You

Are they overly rotating the pelvis anteriorly or posteriorly? If someone’s back arches too much while standing, over time their lower back is going to have some issues.

Are their shoulders slumped forward? Make sure to view them from the front and the side. Look at their trunk, knee, foot, and legs from the ground up. 

You can then move on to transitional or loaded movement assessments like the overhead squat assessment and/or split-squat/single leg squat movement.

With any squat movement, the fitness professional should make sure to check improper tracking of the knees over toes or knee valgus. 

If you want a successful corrective exercise specialist career, make sure to learn how to modify exercises for those clients who can’t complete the movement with correct form. 

You can always modify the OHS by elevating the heels if the client has movement impairments, like poor dorsiflexion. You can also try having them put their hands on the hips if they have limited thoracic mobility.

After this, NASM recommends using dynamic assessments like the Davies Test (also called the Closed Kinetic Chain Upper Extremity Stability Test).

NASM Corrective Exercises for LPHC Dysfunction

When it comes to addressing imbalances in the LPHC (lumbar-pelvic-hip complex), there are several effective corrective exercises that can be incorporated into a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

One such exercise is the Single Leg Bridge, which helps strengthen the gluteal muscles and promote stability in the LPHC region. Additionally, the Clamshell exercise targets the hip abductors and external rotators, aiding in the restoration of proper alignment and function. Another beneficial exercise is the Hip Extension, which activates the glutes and hamstrings while improving core stability. Lastly, incorporating exercises like the Standing Hip Abduction with Resistance Bands can help strengthen the hip muscles and address any imbalances within the LPHC.

Strengthening the LPHC Musculature

Maintaining proper alignment of the LPHC (lumbar-pelvic-hip complex) during exercise is crucial for injury prevention and optimal performance. Firstly, it is important to engage the core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis and multifidus, which provide stability to the LPHC. 

Additionally, focusing on proper posture by aligning the pelvis in a neutral position helps distribute forces evenly throughout the body. It is also beneficial to strengthen the gluteal muscles, as they play a significant role in stabilizing the LPHC. Finally, incorporating exercises that promote hip mobility and flexibility, such as hip circles or dynamic stretches, can help maintain proper alignment during movement.

Furthermore, incorporating exercises that target the muscles around the hips, such as lunges or glute bridges, can also contribute to improved stability and function in the lower body. 

How NASM Integrates LPHC Training into Workouts

Incorporating LPHC exercises into an exercise program can help prevent injuries and improve overall athletic performance.

NASM recommends tackling LPHC training through the use of self-myfasical rolling, static stretching or neuromuscular stretching, isolated strengthening, and integrated dynamic movement for best results. 

Myofascial rolling is a technique that uses a foam roller or other tools to apply pressure to the muscles, helping to release tension and improve flexibility. This can be particularly beneficial for the muscles of the lower back, pelvis, and hips, which are commonly tight and inhibited due to prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyles. By incorporating lphc nasm exercises into your fitness routine, you can alleviate discomfort, improve posture, and enhance overall mobility in these crucial areas. 

Static stretches such as the hip flexor stretch and the standing adductor stretch can target the muscles of the low back, hips, and core, helping to release tension and increase flexibility.

Isolated strengthening of the LPHC (lumbo-pelvic-hip complex) through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) techniques can also improve stability and balance, reducing the risk of injuries in daily activities and athletic performance. These exercises utilize free weights or body-weight to isolate the muscles in and around the LPHC. 

Finally, integrated dynamic movement patterns can be developed through LPHC NASM training, allowing individuals to move efficiently and effectively in all planes of motion, enhancing overall functional fitness. Integration movements include things like squat to row and lunge to overhead press. This comprehensive approach to training ensures a solid foundation for optimal physical performance and injury prevention.

Here’s an example of a sample NASM workout for the LPHC:

  1. Foam roll the adductors, hamstrings, lats, quads, and IT band
  2. Half kneeling hip flexor stretch, static spinal stretch, piriformis stretch
  3. Ball bridge, banded side leg raise, bird dog
  4. Lateral tube walking, lunge to overhead press

NASM Programming for LPHC Rehabilitation

NASM includes exercises that target the muscles of the hip, pelvic, and core region, focusing on stability, strength, and mobility. By incorporating these exercises into a comprehensive training program, individuals can not only recover from injuries but also enhance their functional movement patterns for improved athletic performance and overall well-being. By targeting the muscles surrounding the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex (LPHC) through specific exercises and techniques, NASM-certified trainers are able to address muscle imbalances and improve stability.

In the Corrective Exercise Specialist, NASM goes into several issues you may encounter with clients and how to correct them effectively with the OPT system.

Poor ankle dorsiflexion:

  • Target by rolling the soleus/gastrocnemius, uses a combination of static stretches, along with strengthening of the anterior tibialis

Poor hip extension

  • Use the foam roller on the quads and TFL, stretch the hip flexors, along with the abs, strengthen the glutes using hip bridges, and finish with an integrated dynamic movement like a ball wall squat 

Anterior pelvic tilt

  • Roll lats, quads and TFL, stretch hip flexors, lats and erector spinae, strengthen and abs and glutes and add an integrated dynamic weight movement like squat to row

Posterior pelvic tilt

  • Foam roll hamstrings, adductors, and piriformis, stretch the same muscles plus abs, and strengthen glutes, hip flexors and spinal erectors. Finish with ball squat to overhead press 

Poor balance 

  • Roll the opposite hamstring, calf, piriformis, and the same side TFL and adductor. Strengthen same-side gluteus medius, the opposite-side adductor complex, and core. 


When it comes to optimizing athletic performance and preventing injuries, a thorough assessment of the LPHC (lumbo-pelvic-hip complex) is crucial. By addressing any imbalances or dysfunctions within the LPHC, athletes can significantly reduce the risk of back pain and unlock their full potential on the field. By incorporating exercises targeting the LPHC and ankle complex, athletes can enhance their overall stability, minimize the occurrence of lower limb injuries, and optimize their performance during intense physical activity. 

One crucial aspect of achieving these goals is to pay attention to the hip flexor complex (HFC) and its role in maintaining proper posture and movement mechanics. One effective way to assess the functionality of the hip flexor complex (HFC) is through the overhead squat assessment (OHSA), which can reveal any imbalances or limitations in the range of motion and activation of the hip flexor muscles. 

Using the NASM OPT exercise strategy, people can learn how to fix any LPHC issues and help clients reach optimal health and athletic performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the LPHC affect exercise performance?

The LPHC, or Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex, plays a crucial role in exercise performance. This complex consists of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joints, and acts as a stable foundation for movement. Proper alignment and stability of the LPHC are essential for optimal force production, balance, and injury prevention during exercise. When the LPHC is properly engaged and functioning efficiently, it allows for efficient transfer of forces from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa. This enables individuals to generate more power, enhance their athletic performance, and reduce the risk of injuries such as low back pain or hip imbalances.

How can I strengthen my LPHC muscles?

To effectively strengthen your LPHC (lumbar-pelvic-hip complex) muscles, it is crucial to focus on a combination of exercises that target the core and hip muscles. One highly effective exercise is the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) method, which involves performing a series of dynamic movements that engage the LPHC muscles. Begin with exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts to activate the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Incorporate stability ball exercises like planks and bridges to engage the deep core muscles. Additionally, utilizing resistance bands during lateral walks and clamshells can help activate the hip abductors and external rotators.

How does the LPHC contribute to lower back pain?

The LPHC, or Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex, plays a crucial role in the occurrence of lower back pain. The complex consists of the lumbar spine, pelvis, and hip joints, all interconnected by various muscles and ligaments. When there is dysfunction or imbalance within this complex, it can lead to excessive stress on the lower back region, resulting in pain. One possible mechanism is that an anterior pelvic tilt, caused by tight hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles, can increase the curvature of the lumbar spine and place additional strain on the structures supporting it. Additionally, poor core stability and inadequate activation of the deep stabilizing muscles around the LPHC can further contribute to lower back pain.


  1. Clark, M. A., Lucett, S. C., Mcgill, E., Montel, I., & Sutton, B. (2018). NASM essentials of personal fitness training. Burlington Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  2. Fahmy, R. (2022). NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training. Jones et Bartlett Learning.
  3. Corrective strategies for Lumbo-Pelvic-hip impairments. (n.d.-a).
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

All Posts

PTPioneer Editorial Integrity

All content published on PTPioneer is checked and reviewed extensively by our staff of experienced personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and other Fitness Experts. This is to make sure that the content you are reading is fact-checked for accuracy, contains up-to-date information, and is relevant. We only add trustworthy citations that you can find at the bottom of each article. You can read more about our editorial integrity here.

Ask me a question and I will reply ASAP

Find the best Cert for you

Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The CSCS Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACSM Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ISSA Nutritionist Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NCSF CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CNC Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM PES Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM CES Exam


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the ACE CPT


Get the top 5 Tips for Passing the NASM CPT


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NSCA CPT Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The ACE Exam


Get The Sectret Cheat Sheet For The NASM Exam