Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Strength and Stretch Exercises

Like many people who sit a whole lot, I have an anterior pelvic tilt: my lower back arches so much it’s stiff and pained no matter how much I try to “draw-in” the abdominal wall. anterior-pelvic-tilt-anatomyBasically, my paraspinal muscles are likely too short and stiff while my rectus abdominis is too long and weak. I’ve been stretching tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors, but apparently those may be symptoms of this tilt and not its cause. Even strengthening abs and glutes can backfire if my body is used to relying on my lower back and hip flexors to execute those movements.

In order to correct this biomechanical imbalance, I need to strengthen my abs, glutes, and hamstrings, plus stretch hip flexors. The key is to avoid relying on the hip flexors when strengthening the upper and the lower abdomen; and separately, stretch the hip flexors while strengthening the glutes.

Sample Workout

  1. High knee march warm-up
  2. Planks while tucking glutes in
  3. Side planks, optionally with one leg raised
  4. Stand holding ball at chest and rotate the trunk in each direction
  5. Modified sprinter lunge
  6. Bridge or single leg hip thrust
  7. Child’s pose

Additional Options:

  • Walk with shoulders level while holding heavy weight in one hand
  • Romanian dead lift with knees flexed, hips flexed and externally rotated at 10 and 2 o’clock
  • If you can crunch without activating hip flexors, do so by engaging hamstrings and glutes with knees held in flexion at approximately 90 degrees
  • Resisted hip abductor
  • Resisted hip extension
  • Cobbler’s pose
  • Foam rolling

 

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2 thoughts on “Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Strength and Stretch Exercises

  1. Thanks for these exercises, I’ll give them a try. I have a standup desk at home (which I love!) but the majority of my day is sitting at work, on the train…

    I find bridges really hard to actually properly activate my glutes instead of just relying on the hamstrings – I find they can cramp up during bridges instead of working the glutes. I think that’s the trick about glute strengthening – actually activating them first!

    Bret Contreras does some great glute activation stuff, he’s very science based, I have his book Strong Curves which really made a difference when I did it a couple of years ago. His blog

    My favourite love-to-hate hip stretch is the Couch stretch by Kelly Starrett – it takes me a while to work up to if I haven’t done it for a bit but it’s very rewarding. There’s an article on Breaking Muscle called “Couch Stretch: Small, But Important Ways You’re Doing It Wrong” which goes into a bit more detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so lucky to have a standup desk!

      I agree one of the most challenging aspects is activating the right part(s) of the body for the particular strength exercise or stretch. And the bridge pose is such a tricky yet valuable exercise. I’m still working on it, but I’ve found it helpful to move more slowly focusing on keeping my shoulder blades down, ribs in, and torso steady as I lift up my hips. As you mentioned, it’s sometimes not enough to just try using the glutes more than hamstrings – sometimes adjusting other parts of the body help achieve that goal.

      Thanks so much for the blog and article recommendations!

      Like

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