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If you have any muscle imbalances to your lower body or tight hip flexors, you may be suffering from anterior pelvic tilt.
When this happens, your pelvis tilts into a forward position causing your lumbar spine to lose its neutral position.
In the case of excessive anterior pelvic tilt, the increased rotation can put pressure on your lower spine which often causes significant low back pain.
Recommended Reading – 6 Best Femoroacetabular Impingement Exercises For Hip Pain
The good news is that it’s possible to correct and improve this postural imbalance with some anterior pelvic tilt exercises, which will suggest in this article.
What Causes Anterior Hip Tilt?
There are several causes of anterior pelvic tilt, let’s look at the most likely.
The most common cause of anterior hip tilt is excessive sitting.
If you spend hours sitting at a desk, this can cause the muscles, which support your pelvis, to become weak.
These muscles are the gluteus maximus and your core muscles.
Overtime, your hip flexors may also become tightening further exacerbating the problem.
Poor posture can also come from sitting a lot.
It’s very common to hunch forwards when seated at a desk, this results in weakness to your trapezius muscles which are located to your upper back and neck.
Losing muscle strength here may result in your body compensating by engaging other muscle groups inappropriately which could affect the alignment of your pelvis and spine.
Natural bone structure and muscle development can mean you’re more predisposed to anterior pelvic tilt.
The structure of your pelvis or how it’s positioned may make the condition more likely.
How Do I Know If I Have Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
It’s much easier to identify anterior pelvic tilt when it’s more excessive.
However, there’s a couple of simple tests you can do at home to check if you have anterior tilt that maybe needs working on.
If you have especially large glutes, test one may make it a little more difficult to tell. In which case, jump to test two.
- Start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Take one hand and slide it beneath your lower back. There should be a small gap between the floor and your back, this is perfectly normal.
- The size of the gap can vary depending on the size of your glutes and pelvis.
- If you feel pressure on your low back muscles or that your belly sticks out, this may be a sign of anterior hip tilt.
- Now, squeeze your abs and glutes and push your lower back until it’s flat on the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- If you cannot do this, then it’s likely you’re suffering from anterior pelvic tilt.
- Begin in a standing position with your feet hip width apart.
- Tuck your tailbone under and push your hips forward until your back forms a straight line.
- Doing this puts you into posterior pelvic tilt.
- If you can do this without bending your knees and it’s easy to hold the position for 30 seconds, then you don’t have anterior hip tilt.
- If the position feels very awkward and you have to bend to your knees, then it’s a sign of anterior tilt.
Best Anterior Pelvic Tilt Exercises
There are some great anterior pelvic tilt exercises you can do at home.
When performed often, they can improve the strength and mobility of your muscles which surround the pelvis which, in time, will help to fix anterior pelvic tilt.
We always recommend seeking advice from a physical therapist before starting any new exercise program to ensure they are right for you.
Lying Hip Flexor Stretch
The lying hip flexor stretch is a gentle bodyweight exercise that will help to loosen up tight hip flexors and help to alleviate lower back pain.
If you perform this often, you can improve the flexibility to your hips and reduce tension.
How To Do The Lying Hip Flexor Stretch:
- Lie down with both legs extended straight out.
- Keeping your body relaxed, raise your right leg to bring the knee close to your chest.
- Use both hands to hold your leg in this position. You can apply a little pressure to increase the stretch.
- Allow your left leg to rest and fall flat.
- Hold this stretch for around 60 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Single Leg Bridge
The single leg bridge is a variation on the regular glute bridge.
It’s a great exercise for improving strength to your glutes, hamstrings and low back muscles.
How To Do The Single Leg Glute Bridge:
- Begin by lying on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your arms down by your sides.
- Push your lower back muscles into the floor so that your hips are now in posterior tilt.
- Raise one leg from the ground while keeping your knee bent.
- Push through your heel and raise your hips away from the floor.
- Squeeze your glutes and hold this for a couple of seconds before lowering back down.
- Do 5 repetitions on one side then switch over.
Seated Pelvic Tilt
The seated pelvic tilt exercise is a simple movement that can help improve awareness of your pelvic position and posture and may help to improve pelvic mobility.
How To Do The Seated Pelvic Tilt:
- Start by sitting on a chair, keeping your feet flat on the floor with your ankles under your knees.
- Place your hands on your knees or your hips.
- Slowly curve your spine as much as you can by rolling your hips forwards. Keep your torso upright as you do this.
- Then reverse the action by curving the opposite way, tucking your tailbone under as much as possible.
- Continue doing this for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Dead Bug Exercise
This exercise will help you to maintain a more neutral pelvis and loosen up any tight muscles that surround it.
When doing this movement, keep to a range of motion that still allows your spine to remain in place.
The traditional dead bug involves arm movement along with your legs, but there is a slight modification on this one.
How To Do The Dead Bug Exercise:
- Lie on the floor with knees bent.
- Get your spine into a neutral position by rotating the front of the pelvis forward.
- You’ll need to hold this position throughout the movement. To help, place both hands under your lower back so that you can feel the floor and your spine at the same time.
- Engage your core muscles and raise both knees up so that the tops of your legs are perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.
- Extend one leg out straight, but don’t allow it to rest on the floor.
- Hold briefly then raise your leg back to the starting position then repeat with the other leg.
- Continue alternating in this way until you’ve done 10 repetitions and perform 3 sets.
Kneeling Cat Cow
The Cat-Cow is a yoga exercise that involves a dynamic arching and rounding of the spine.
It can be a great way to improve the flexibility and mobility of your spine, including the lumbar (lower) and thoracic (mid) regions.
If you have improved spinal mobility this can indirectly affect pelvic positioning and alignment helping with anterior pelvic tilt.
How To Do The Cat Cow Exercise:
- Kneel down with your knees and feet aligned keeping them hip-width apart. Your shins be resting on the floor.
- Place your hands on the floor so they’re directly beneath your shoulders.
- Lift your waist and flex your spine so that your back arches. Lower your head down as you do this.
- Pause briefly then contract your erector spinae and upper back muscles whilst lowering your back. At the same time, raise your head back up to face forwards.
- Continue alternating between arching your back up and down for 60 seconds.
Whilst they may look similar, the RKC plank is different from the standard plank.
The key difference being that when performing an RKC plank it’s necessary to create as much as tension as possible throughout your muscles and put your hips into a posterior tilt.
This is a very challenging exercise so only perform it if you already good core strength and stability.
This is not one of the anterior pelvic tilt exercises that directly address anterior hip tilt, but it will contribute to better pelvic alignment helping to fix the problem.
How To Perform A Standard Plank:
- Get on all fours and assume a regular plank position by resting on your forearms with elbows under your shoulders with legs extended.
- Clasp your hands together and interlock your fingers. Push your elbows into the ground.
- Slightly rotate your pelvic region by tucking your tailbone under.
- Squeeze your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core.
- Hold this position for between 10 and 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Remember that it’s perfectly normal to have a slight degree of pelvic tilt and this natural alignment of your pelvis is not usually a cause for concern.
Even if you have a more obvious case of anterior pelvic tilt, it’s only necessary to address it if it’s causing you pain and discomfort.
When looking at anterior pelvic tilt exercises to fix your anterior hip tilt, the above targeted exercises will be a proactive step in improving your posture, reducing any pain, and getting your tilted pelvis back into a more normal position.
Another good tip for improving your pelvic alignment, is to work on tight hip flexors.
These are a group of small muscles to the front of your hip and upper thigh.
Poor posture and too much sitting can cause them to contract which can impact the correct positioning of your pelvis.
We’ve got a great article on reducing tightness to your psoas muscle (one of your main hip flexors).
Why not have a read and maybe try out the suggested exercises. You can read it here.