The anterior pelvic tilt is one of the most ignored postural deficits. Often, it doesn’t cause severe pain or any other troubling symptoms. However, it could potentially be a sign of serious muscle imbalances.
So, what’s the problem? Muscle imbalances or weaknesses frequently lead to injuries. You could be setting yourself up for months of pain and recovery time - Not exactly ideal.
BREAKING DOWN THE ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT
The pelvis refers to the area where your hips bones and low back attach. Ideally, the pelvis sits in a fairly neutral position - neither pulling forward or backward on the spine.
The most common form of a pelvic tilt is in the anterior or forward position. This means the pelvis is tilted forward, you may have an increased curve in your low back, and your stomach may bulge out in front of you. If it becomes severe enough, you may experience low back pain, knee pain, or other musculoskeletal issues.
Why does this happen? Experts and fitness pros have noted that individuals with an anterior pelvic tilt tend to have less glute and hamstring activation. In other words, you may be quad dominant - relying on these muscles to execute certain movements.
An anterior pelvic tilt may also be caused by sitting for extended durations. When you are seated, your glutes aren’t activated, and the muscles in the front of your hips shorten. This can cause these muscles to pull the pelvis forward. If you spend a lot of time sitting at the office, that might be half your problem.
How Do You Fix It?
Similar to other postural issues, a combination of strengthening and stretching exercises works best. You want to strengthen the weak muscles - such as the glutes, abdominals, and hamstrings. As well, stretch out the hip flexors and quads to help release muscle tightness.
Let’s break it down further. The following 5 different exercises can help counteract your anterior pelvic tilt. These exercises should by no means replace any professional advice - such as that from your physical therapist or doctor. If any of the exercises cause pain, try re-adjusting, easing off, or stopping the exercise entirely. Pain isn’t your friend - don’t power through it.
We also recommend checking with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Proceed with caution and listen to your body!
1.The Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors are small muscles at the front of your hips. These muscles help bring your thigh forward and up. Tight hip flexors aren’t uncommon. If you sit in an office all day, you’ve likely experienced stiffness in the front of the hips at some point. Stretching these muscles lengthens them, which combats the shortening effect from sitting or from an anteriorly rotated pelvis.
- Kneel on a mat or a comfortable surface.
- Step your right foot forward, so that you are in a low lunge. Your left knee should remain on the mat or ground.
- While keeping your torso upright, gently lean into your front knee. The goal is to elongate through the front of your left hip. You should feel a gentle stretch here.
- Aim to hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. You can perform this one 2-3 times every day. And make sure to complete the stretch on both sides.
2. The Quad Stretch
The quadriceps muscles make up the bulk of the front of your thighs. They play an important role in extending the knee. They are also activated in a lot of exercises, including squats and lunges. You should be stretching these muscles after any leg workout. If you have an anterior pelvic tilt, you should aim to stretch them every day.
- Stand tall.
- Bend your right knee back and grab your right foot with your right hand.
- Your thighs should be parallel. Do not protrude your right thigh forward - you won’t feel the stretch this way.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then switch sides. Do 2-3 repetitions.
3. The Glute Bridge
The glutes are arguably the largest and strongest muscles in your body. They are considered a vital part of the ‘core’ - aka your foundation. Strong glutes support the proper alignment of the spine, preventing low back pain, and pelvis. And also help to extend, rotate, and abduct the leg at the hip joint. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that strengthening your glutes can help fix your anterior pelvic tilt. Your hamstrings are also used during this exercise.
- Lie on your back on a comfortable surface. Bend your knees and position your feet flat on the ground in front of you.
- Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your hips and buttocks off the ground.
- Hold at the end range for 3-5 seconds.
- Slowly lower your hips and buttocks back to the start position.
- Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets. When you are ready to progress the exercise, try doing the same thing but with one foot lifted up and off of the ground.
4. The Dead Bug
The dead bug targets your abdominals. These muscles are often weak in those that have an anteriorly rotated pelvis. This exercise is easy and is frequently done in rehab settings - meaning it’s suitable for most fitness levels.
- Lie on your back on a comfortable surface.
- Bring your knees up and above your hips. Keep them bent at 90 degrees. Extend your arms straight over the top of your shoulders.
- Simultaneously lower your right arm straight behind you and extend your left leg straight.
- Slowly bring them back to the start and repeat for your opposite side.
- Aim for 10-12 repetitions and 2-3 sets.
5. Camel Pose
This yoga pose is great for fixing postural issues. It is essentially training your body for neutral alignment. You want to actively be thinking about fixing your pelvic tilt throughout your day. To start doing this, you can work on the camel pose - a pose that posterior rotates the pelvis.
- Begin on all-fours. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Your knee should be directly under your hips.
- Arch your back upward, bringing your head in between your arms. Engage the abdominals here as you suck in.
- Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
- Release and relax. However, don’t let your low back drop - this position supports the anterior position of the pelvis.
- Do this exercise 10 times for 2-3 sets per day.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO FIX YOUR PELVIC TILT?
Make sure to balance out your weightlifting routine. If you work the front of your body, make sure to do the same with the back. Balance is important!
Try more compound type exercises, such as deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts and lunges. Further, do the above stretches and exercises on the regular.
Pay attention when you are sitting - how long have you been sitting for? Do your hips feel tight? If you sit for long hours each day, try to stretch out or stand at least every hour or 2.
Fix your anterior pelvic tilt before it becomes a problem! Prevention is always the best method.