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

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What Comes First: Cardio or Weights? Workout Myths and Exercise Science (Book Summary)

My boyfriend and I finally joined a gym. We’ve been following YouTube videos and online programs long enough and wanted access to more equipment. Plus, getting out of the apartment together and doing something positive for ourselves is feeling great.

Of course, the first thing I’ve done is get a ton of books on exercise science from the library. What Comes First: Cardio or Weights? by Alex Hutchinson appealed to me because I feel like I have a lot of knowledge, I’m just not certain what’s really true.

A few points I learned:

  • First of all, the answer to the title: start with the most important activity – if they are equal, mix it up.
  • High-intensity interval training 7 minutes a week can benefit your body as much as 300 moderate activity like cycling – though, the benefits are mostly from muscles, so endurance is still recommended in the mix to pump the heart.
  • At the same time, more exercise – and more intense exercise – is almost always better: following government guidelines cuts your risk of dying in half, while going further can reduce risk up to 70%.
  • Going too hard, too soon, for too long can cause injury and weaken your immune system.
  • About 20-62% of variation in exercise participation seems to be inherited through personality and physiology, but everyone can reap benefits from exercise.
  • It takes 6 weeks to boost endurance, but health can performance can improve within days, then losses occur after about 2 weeks without training.

More specifically,

  • The differences between running on a treadmill and running outdoors are too small to matter – just set the treadmill to 0.5-1% incline.
  • Weight machines isolate muscles and help keep beginners from making mistakes.
  • Elliptical machines compare to treadmills in the way weight machines compare to free weights – just as good as one another, but different, mainly lower-impact vs. more functional.
  • Aim for 70% aerobic (below 80% of max for 20-60 minutes), 10% anaerobic (above 90% of ma for 0.5-3 minute bursts), and 20% threshold (80-90% of max for surges of 3-10 minutes) – where max heart rate is usually 180-200 bpm for a 30-year old.
  • You likely breathe well naturally for cardio, but may need to focus on exhaling as you lift weights and not holding your breath.
  • Experienced runners naturally learn to take shorter strides so the foot hits the ground below the body, not in front.
  • For 3-4 months, lift weights you can manage for 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps, increasing over time. Work toward something like 4 sets of 20 reps with rests under 90 seconds for endurance. Experiment with variety.
  • You should be unable to lift the weight again when you complete the final set.
  • Strengthen your core (deep abs, lower back, pelvic and hip muscles) with Pilates and functional exercises like hip abductor and flexor.

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Tracy Anderson Method Days 2-6

In 5 days on the Tracy Anderson Method, my weight has dropped from 168.6 to 162.8 pounds and the scale says my body fat percentage has gone down with it! I feel very good about what I’ve accomplished already. I did just under an hour of intense sweaty burning exercise 6 days in a row and I’ve been committed to the meal plan.

It’s been tough, though not exactly in the ways I expected. I knew the cardio would be very difficult so the first day, I just did as much as I could, which was 15 of the 29 minutes. Each day thereafter, I’m proud to say I’ve added one minute more, plus two minutes at the very end. So today, Day 6, I completed 22 minutes of jumping nearly non-stop. It’s very challenging, but each extra minute has been doable when I make it a must. 

I thought the toning, the muscular structure workout, would become easier as I grew more familiar with the movements. I improved over the first few days, but today I regressed a bit taking several big breaks and really half-assing the final set of reps. I felt like I just couldn’t do more. I know I could, though, because I did just yesterday. I think part of it was fatigue from a long day yesterday and a generally lower mood today than the previous 5 days. I have to remember why I’m doing this and insist on a regular habit to achieve those results.  

Now, the diet was the area where I anticipated the most trouble but it’s been a breeze compared to the exercise. Sure, a few of the meals haven’t been very unappetizing, but I haven’t really been hungry and I haven’t really had cravings – which quite rare for this Miss Emotional Eater. I’ve even gone out with friends a couple times and watched everyone else eat while I sit there with my water, not hungry, only feeling a little weird. Still, I haven’t been able to be 100% because of mistakes I’ve made with grocery shopping, cooking, and understanding the portions from the book. 

Thank God tomorrow is a rest day from exercise! I need it! It’s so hard I’ve contemplated a few times trying something less intensive, more diet-based, but then I recommit to the original minimum 30 days. One thing I’m changing is from the book’s meal plan to the Metamorphosis dynamic eating plan. The biggest frustration with the diet has been unclear portions and wasteful ingredients, which doesn’t look to be an issue with Metamorphosis. I’m excited to make that component easier (and have chocolate every day for the first week) plus hopeful the rest day will help me get back to progress with the exercise.

Tracy Anderson Method Day 1

I’m so excited for the Tracy Anderson Method, I just can’t hide it. So I’m sharing. A lot. I’m doing the meal plan from Tracey’s 30-day bootcamp book with the cardio and toning from her hip-centric metamorphosis set. I wrestled with this decision because most of what I read about bingeing is to avoid dieting. But “normal” healthy eating is much harder for me and I believe getting started with new recipes and a plan already set will really help get in that habit as well as retrain my hunger cues and taste buds.

Yesterday was too busy to stock up on groceries, so I hopped to the store this morning for breakfast ingredients. Then later I trudged through the rain for a larger haul from a different grocery store. Unfortunately, I haven’t been too lucky in the availability of required ingredients. Strawberry Mint SaladSo I’m substituting. A lot.

To start, strawberries in the morning were delicious with cilantro and honey (because I couldn’t find the mint and agave called for in the recipe). And for me, it was satisfying. I love sweetness way more than fatty foods so this plan fits my tastes better than diets like Paleo.

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