The Anterior pelvic tilt is becoming increasingly popular in today’s society, and not for the better. We spend more time sitting down in front of our computers these days, and we are no longer as active as we were a decade ago. As a result, many of us have acquired an unnatural pelvic tilt that makes us appear to have a belly when we don’t, and it’s also a leading cause of lower back discomfort. The pelvis is involved in nearly every activity you do while seated, walking, running, or bending since it serves as the primary attachment point for the thigh, back, and abdominal muscles.
When this primary structure is out of whack, it can induce a slew of postural issues that lead to back discomfort, stiff muscles, and a restricted range of motion. The good news is that an anterior pelvic tilt may be treated and corrected through specific exercises and stretches, which we’ll go over in this post. We’ll also go through how an anterior pelvic tilt develops and the treatment choices available to reverse it.
Let’s get going!
What is an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
The anterior pelvic tilt, commonly known as APT, is an abnormal posture in which the pelvis rotates forward. In other words, your pelvis will be positioned forward (which is what the anterior implies) and downward. The anterior pelvic tilt is defined as a posture in which the front of your pelvis is lower than the rear (the reverse being a posterior pelvic tilt). To view yourself from the side with an anterior pelvic tilt means that your pelvis will be slanted forward (versus posterior pelvic tilt).
Assume a see-saw represents your pelvis. Imagine seeing a see-saw from the side; someone with normal posture will have it balanced in the middle, whereas someone with an anterior pelvic tilt will have it tipped forward. Because the pelvis is tilted forward, other body imbalances are caused. The most common cause of an anterior pelvic tilt is a sedentary lifestyle and too much sitting. Sedentary habits and overuse of the hamstrings, gluteals, hip flexors, and hip extensors are all causes of this condition.
The hip flexors tighten and shorten when you sit for long periods without proper lumbar support, pushing the pelvis forward. Simultaneously, the hamstrings, gluteals, and core muscles get longer while weakening, contributing to severe lumbar spine curvature.
This tilt is characterized by muscular imbalances that are listed below:
- Tight hip flexors
- Tight lower back
- Weak hamstrings
- Tight quads/thighs
- Weak core
- Weak glutes
It is also crucial to recognize that some degree of anterior pelvic tilt is typical; according to research, as many as 75 to 85 percent of persons have an anterior pelvic tilt without exhibiting any symptoms. Although several symptoms are associated with severe and long-standing anterior pelvic tilt, we’ll go into further detail in the following section.
What are some of the signs of Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Aside from the muscular imbalances mentioned above, additional symptoms may be related to an anterior pelvic tilt. Most individuals with mild to moderate pelvic anterior tilt will not feel any discomfort, soreness, or restricted movement. However, in severe cases of anterior pelvic tilt, the pressure placed on the vertebrae of the lower spine can increase, resulting in symptoms such as:
- Low back pain – The hip or iliac bones rotate forward due to anterior pelvic tilt. Excessive curvature of the lumbar region, or inversion, can result in significant back discomfort.
- Groin pain – Excess pressure is applied to the anterior hip components due to the forward flexed angle that characterizes anterior pelvic tilt, resulting in groin discomfort.
- Muscle stiffness – The pelvic and thigh muscles, particularly the hip flexors and quads, become tighter when you have anterior pelvic tilt. Stiffness of the lower back muscles is also frequently seen in individuals with anterior pelvic tilt.
- Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) – The femoral head may sometimes rub against the acetabular socket abnormally as a result of anterior pelvic tilt. Femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is an incident that can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis of the hip, according to studies.
- Postural changes – Anterior pelvic tilt can cause structural changes in the lower back area, raising one’s risk of suffering from knee pain, lower back discomfort, and disc degeneration due to overpressure on the L4 to L5 segment of the lumbar spine.
How to check if you have an Anterior Pelvic Tilt
The Thomas test, also known as the Hugh Owen Thomas test, is one way to tell if you have this tilt. It was named after British orthopedic surgeon Hugh Owen Thomas and is a method of diagnosis used to determine whether or not you have this condition. This test rules out problems commonly mistaken for anterior pelvic tilt, such as hip flexion contracture and psoas syndrome.
To do the Thomas test, follow these steps:
- Lie on a table with your legs dangling over the table’s edge just above the knee.
- Next, bend one leg’s knee and draw it toward your chest with both arms to hold it in position.
- If the back of your reclining leg lifts off the table while you execute this exercise, you have an anterior pelvic tilt.
Watch the video above for a different approach to detecting an APT.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Corrective Exercises to Improve an APT
Corrective exercises you can perform at home are usually enough to correct an anterior pelvic tilt in most cases. Perform home workouts concentrating on the gluteal, core, and hamstring muscles. Stretching and releasing the hip flexors, thigh muscles, and lower back muscles have been found to aid in the return of the pelvis to a neutral position, reducing low back discomfort and preventing any further misalignment of the spine.
Steps to correct an anterior pelvic tilt
To cure an anterior pelvic tilt, you must first reverse all of the muscular imbalances it has produced.
Here’s a brief rundown of what you’ll need to get started.
- Stretch the lower back
- Strengthen the hamstrings
- Release and stretch the tight hip flexors
- Strengthen the core
- Release and stretch the quads/thighs
- Strengthen the glutes
Corrective workouts and stretching of the muscles above can help you reverse an anterior pelvic tilt, but you should focus on strengthening the core and glutes and loosening tight hip flexors. We’ll look at a few easy home exercises here to cure anterior pelvic tilt before moving on to more invasive therapy options, such as painkillers or surgery.
1. Releasing (self-massage) the Tight Muscles
Before stretching anything, you should begin by working on your myofascial release, which we’ll talk about in this area. By doing so, you’ll receive a boost in the advantages of your stretching.
Foam Rolling the Hip Flexors
The first step is to use a foam roller or a massage ball to work the hip flexors, which have grown short and tight from so much sitting. The tightness in the hip flexors is to blame for the anterior pelvic tilt, which forces the pelvis to descend.
Foam roll your hip flexors to stretch them out:
- Set the foam roller down on the ground and lie down on top of it.
- Place the foam roller on top of your quad.
- Putting firm pressure in a circular motion over this small region.
- You may also gently rotate your body from side to side to expand them out even more.
Foam Roll the Quads
Next, you’ll need to roll out your thigh region. Using a foam roller once again:
- Apply pressure to your thighs with the foam roller.
- While moving your arms up and down, slowly roll your quadriceps up and down the roller.
- Switch sides
Roll out the TFL
To loosen the hips, even more, you should roll out your Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL), a hip flexor muscle. It’s similar to rolling out your hip flexor muscles; only you want to turn your body at a 45-degree angle. Slowly roll around this region once you’ve found it.
Foam Rollers and Massage Tools
Because a regular foam roller isn’t deep enough into the hip flexor muscles, you may discover that it isn’t adequately penetrative. A foam roller with ridges is a more advanced option, but you may also use a smaller massage ball.
All-in-one Anterior Pelvic Tilt Foam Rolling Routine
The foam rolling technique from the video above is also a decent option. How to foam roll the following muscles are explained in this article:
- Rectus Femoris (center of thigh/quad)
This video also focuses on the lower back’s lats to loosen up tightness.
2. Stretches to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt
You may now stretch the tight muscles once you’ve loosened them with foam rolling and released the tense muscles.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The stretch depicted in the video above is the most important stretch you should attempt to cure an APT. Ensure to keep your glutes and abdominal muscles squeezed tight while you perform this stretch, which will automatically cause your pelvis to draw into a neutral position.
Stretch Out the Lower Back
You should not only concentrate on elongating your spine during the day, but you should also include some lower back stretches into your daily routine to put your pelvis into a neutral position and relieve back discomfort. There aren’t many back stretches that target the lower back, but a simple “child’s pose” can suffice (demonstrated in the video above).
Take special care to avoid arching your lower back; concentrate on extending it as if you’re pulling your spine apart at the ends. You may begin to lengthen the short and tight lower back muscles that contribute to an anterior pelvic tilt by stretching out your lower back.
3. Strengthening Exercises
The following section focuses on strengthening the weak muscles that need to be strengthened to bring your pelvis into a neutral position.
Strengthen the Core: Planks
The plank exercise is the most effective treatment for an APT. A weak core and abdominal muscles are typical features of someone with an anterior pelvic tilt. Counteracting the downwards draw of the hip flexors on the pelvis is the core’s primary function, yet it’s ineffective in someone with an APT because it allows the front pelvis to be pulled down.
The most effective technique to strengthen your core is keeping yourself in a plank posture for as long as possible. If you’re an anterior pelvic tilt sufferer, you might want to hold your plank with a little posterior pelvic (pull the pelvis towards the elbows) tilt to maximize core strength.
Strengthen the Core: Pelvic tilt
It may seem odd to do pelvic tilts to correct an anterior pelvic tilt, but this exercise has been found to be helpful in building strong abdominal muscles while relaxing tense lower back muscles.
To perform a pelvic tilt:
- Lie down on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Tightening your abs and drawing your belly button in toward your spine.
- Raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling as high as possible.
- Next, tighten your hip and gluteal muscles while gently tipping your pelvis forward.
- Hold this posture for 3 to 5 seconds before resuming a neutral posture. Rep it 5 to 15 times.
Strengthen the Glutes and Hamstrings
This section focuses on the glutes and hamstrings that are weak.
There are numerous strategies to train the glutes and hamstrings, and any activity is beneficial as long as it targets both of these muscles. On the other hand, the’ Glute Bridge’ simultaneously strengthens the hamstrings and glutes.
To do this workout, follow these steps:
- Start by lying down on your rear with your feet flat on the ground. Your palms should face down, with your arms at your sides.
- Next, straighten your body by lifting your pelvis until it forms a straight line while keeping your feet flat on the floor.
- Wait for 2 to 3 seconds, then slowly lower your buttocks to the floor. Repeat this drill 8 to 12 times.
- Make sure to press your feet into the ground for more effective glute activation.
Exercises that boost glute and hamstring strength will assist with correcting your APT. Donkey kicks are also beneficial for strengthening the glutes and elongating the hip flexors.
Squats can help build muscle in your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.
To complete a squat, follow these steps:
- Begin by standing straight with your feet placed shoulder-width apart.
- Next, bend your knees and descend as if you were about to sit in a chair.
- Make sure you keep your abs tight and your legs parallel to the floor.
- Your back should be straight, and your legs shouldn’t extend beyond your toes.
- Push back up to a standing position while tightening your gluteal muscles. Repeat this exercise ten to fifteen times.
People who have an anterior pelvic tilt might find it challenging to switch on and set their glutes into motion. If you spend a lot of time sitting, it’s quite possible that your glute muscles will no longer “fire” as they should instead of letting other muscle groups take up the slack. Another problem is a glute imbalance, which occurs when one glute switches off while the other continues to operate. If you suffer from anterior pelvic tilt, it’s critical to ensure that both your glutes are working correctly since this might prevent you from remedying the problem.
How to treat Anterior Pelvic Tilt: Prevention and Suggestions
The most basic approach to resetting your anterior pelvic tilt is to find the source of the problem and remove it. If you don’t address the problem at its source, all of the stretches and exercises outlined here will be useless. As you’ve seen, the major problem is that people spend far too much time sitting and not enough exercising. If you suffer from anterior pelvic tilt and want to correct it, the most effective way to do so is to spend less time sitting. Here are a few simple solutions to assist you to stand more:
Get a Standing Desk
Consider buying a standing desk if you spend most of your day at a computer. You may get adjustable desktops that raise and lower automatically depending on whether you want to sit or stand. While you don’t need to stand throughout all the day to treat an anterior pelvic tilt, you may spend some time working on your feet. A standing desk prevents an APT and treats forward head posture and rounded shoulders.
Get a Back Stretching Device
There aren’t a lot of lower-back stretches, but getting a back stretcher can be helpful. These devices may assist you in developing longer back muscles to support an exaggerated arch. Combine a back stretcher with daily back stretching to speed up the recovery of your anterior pelvic tilt.
Avoid sitting for extended lengths of time.
If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, make certain to walk about and stretch frequently. You may repair the muscular imbalances that arise from too much sitting by simply getting up at predetermined intervals. A good score is every 20 minutes or so. Begin by standing up every 20 minutes to use the restroom, drink water, and so on. Make it more exciting and inventive!
If You Must Sit
Then sit correctly. Ensure your computer screen, laptop, or tablet is at eye level. If necessary, raise your work desk or office chair so that your PC screen, laptop, or tablet is at the proper height. People with an anterior pelvic tilt will generally sit in a posture with their lower back arched and their pelvis tilted forward. The secret to finding the ideal sitting posture is to contract your glutes and tighten up your core. You’ll notice that your pelvis will shift out of the forward tilt and into a neutral posture.
How to Sleep when you have an Anterior Pelvic Tilt
There’s also a hack for alleviating your anterior pelvic tilt while sleeping that you may do as well as sitting. The secret is to put a pillow beneath your knees, which removes the arch in your back. For the science behind why this works, watch the video above.
The anterior pelvic tilt is an easily treatable issue if it is detected early. This article will teach you how to use the exercises described in it to realign your pelvis and alleviate lower back discomfort caused by an excessively bent lower back (hyperlordosis).
However, remember that getting your pelvis back to a neutral position might take time and effort. It’s not an immediate problem that can be resolved the next day. You should also strive to stay healthy and more active while performing these exercises and sitting less. According to research, a high body mass index (BMI) can cause APT. An increased amount of abdominal fat is thought to cause an anterior pelvic tilt in obese people.
Remember that the material covered in this post is not meant to take the place of medical advice. If you have chronic and severe discomfort because of an incorrectly positioned pelvis, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to see if there’s an underlying cause.