Best Exercises to Correct Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Best Exercises to Correct Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Back pain is a pervasive problem affecting 70-80% of adults at some point in their lives. In most cases, the pain and discomfort is so serious that it interferes with or prevents activities of daily living including walking, dressing, bathing, and even general hygiene care [1]. 

Among the different causes of back pain, poor posture is shown to be one of the most common issues with the anterior pelvic tilt being the primary culprit [2]. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to correct anterior tilt to treat low back pain and it all starts with pelvic tilt exercises. Using a combination of stretching and strength training, we will guide you through the top exercises to fix anterior pelvic tilt so you can return to activity and start living life pain-free. 

What Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

An anterior pelvic tilt occurs when your pelvic bone is shifted or “tilted” in the forward direction causing your buttocks to push out and forcing your lumbar spine to curve abnormally. 

The most common cause of an anterior pelvic tilt is lifestyle. For the most part, people who spend long periods of time in a seated position are more likely to experience muscle imbalances in the pelvic region. In other words, the muscles in the front (i.e. rectus femoris/”quads” and other hip flexors) will become tighter while the muscles in the back (i.e. gluteus maximus/”glutes” and other hip extensors) will become weaker [3]. 

As a result, anterior pelvic tilt causes a muscle imbalance across the hip and knee joint which can lead to low back pain, hip and knee pain, and poor posture. In serious cases, excessive anterior tilt can result in lumbar lordosis, an extremely abnormal spinal curvature that causes intense pain, stiffness, and immobility through the hip joint [4].

Anterior vs. Posterior Pelvic Tilt

The posterior pelvic tilt is far less common than the anterior tilt, but with many of the same negative repercussions. The difference is that the posterior pelvic tilt causes the front of the pelvis to rise and the back to drop – sort of like you’re “tucking your tail” under your buttocks. 

As a consequence, chronic posterior pelvic tilt may result in a myriad of other symptoms including bad posture, tight muscles, and possible irritation to the sacroiliac (SI) joint.

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Whether you’ve first started experiencing postural problems or have been dealing with long-term pain from anterior pelvic tilt, we have good news for you. It’s been proven that specific resistance exercises targeting muscles surrounding the pelvic region can be an effective approach for strengthening and correcting pelvic misalignment [4]. 

In order to address anterior pelvic tilt, the goal is to: 

  • Stretch the lumbar spine 

  • Activate and stretch the thoracic spine 

  • Increase flexibility in the anterior hip (to loosen up tight hip flexor muscles)

  • Strengthen the weak posterior hip (by activating the glutes and mobilizing tight hamstrings)

  • Strengthen the abdominal muscles 

Here are the best 5 strengthening exercises to help you fix anterior pelvic tilt and return back to pain-free “neutral” alignment. In only a few weeks, you’ll experience the difference this physical therapy can make on both improving your posture while minimizing your pain symptoms.

1. Plank 

The plank is an excellent full-body stabilizing exercise that helps target weak glutes and strengthen abdominal muscles. 

Get into the plank position by placing both hands firmly on the ground under your shoulders and raising your body up onto your toes. It’s very important to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine by keeping your core and glutes tight (avoid rounding the back or sticking your bum out). Tuck your chin down and look towards the ground to protect your neck and hold this position for 30-45 seconds then slowly lower back down.  

As you gain muscle strength and core stability, this exercise will become much easier. 

2. Glute Bridge 

The glute bridge is one of the top pelvic tilt exercises for correcting posture and addressing low back pain. Since weak glutes play a major role in the development of anterior pelvic tilt, glute bridges are an effective and simple way to strengthen the posterior muscles and counteract tight hip flexors. 

Begin by laying on your back on a comfortable surface with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. With your arms by your sides, you’ll start by lifting your hips up towards the ceiling by contracting your glutes and hamstring muscles, keeping the knees, hips, and shoulders in a straight line. As your pelvis rises, your upper back should continue to be pressed down against the floor. Hold the hip extension for a few seconds then slowly return back to starting position. 

3. Squats

Squats are another fundamental hip strengthening exercise that targets the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. 

For the purpose of proper form, we recommend doing body weight squats. 

Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed forward. Drop into slight hip flexion while keeping your lumbar spine in a safe neutral position. Begin to lower yourself into a seated position until your thighs are just below parallel to the floor. Activate your posterior muscles and extend your legs up, keeping your upper body upright. 

4. Kneeling Leg Lift

The kneeling leg lift is beneficial in stabilizing your core, strengthening your glutes, and stretching your back. 

Begin in a “tabletop” position with your hands and knees below your torso, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back parallel to the ground so your pelvis is neutral, contract your core and begin by extending your right leg straight back so it’s in line with your spine. Your right knee and right hip should be in line with one another. Without dropping your hips, hold this position for 1-2 seconds. Return back to starting position before switching sides, extending your left leg up and back.  

5. Hip Flexor Stretch 

Hip flexor stretches are some of the best when it comes to fixing anterior pelvic tilt problems. These exercises can be done both by kneeling and standing. For greater depth, we recommend the kneeling hip flexor stretch.

Start by kneeling one leg on the ground with the other leg bent with your foot pressed down in front of you. Keeping your upper body in an upright position, hinge forward until you feel a stretch in your hip flexors. Hold in a deep stretching position for 30 seconds before switching to the alternate leg.

Without having a personal trainer present, it can help to watch yourself in a mirror to make sure you’re performing this stretch at the proper angle without arching your back or tilting your pelvis too far forward.

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