How to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt (Best Exercises)

What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

The Anterior Pelvic Tilt is where the pelvis is in a forward rotated position.

anterior pelvic tilt

Characteristics:

  • Forward tilt of the pelvis
  • Pronounced lower back arch
  • Glutes (your bottom) that stick out
  • Protruding stomach

Is Anterior Pelvic Tilt bad?

As the pelvis is the foundation of your spine, it is common for a poorly positioned pelvis to drastically affect your whole posture.

If your pelvis is in the wrong position, your whole posture may be out of position as well. (… This is a big problem!)

It could be the one reason why you have so much pain and/or tightness in your body.

What are the potential complications for a person with an anteriorly tilted pelvis?

(Having an anterior tilt of the pelvis does not guaranty that it is the sole cause of the following issues, however, it could be a significant factor!)

(Note: If you have lower back pain, it might be an idea to decompress your lower back to reduce your symptoms before starting the exercises.

The content presented on this blog post is not to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. It exists for informational purposes only. Use of the material provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more information: Medical disclaimer.


Test for Anterior pelvic tilt

anterior pelvic tilt test

Instructions:

  • Stand up.
  • Locate the land marks:  (check out the picture above for the points.)
    • Pointy bone at the front (ASIS) and
    • Pointy bone at the back (PSIS).
  • Compare the relative heights.
Interpretation: If you have an Anterior Pelvic Tilt, the ASIS will be significantly lower in comparison to the PSIS.

Note: It is normal for the pelvis to have a slight forward tilt of about ~5-10 degrees. (This is what I refer to as a “neutral pelvis”).

Note #2: Every body has different shaped and sized “pointy bones”.

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What causes Anterior pelvic tilt?

In my opinion: The main cause is excessive SITTING!

Excessive sitting causes certain muscles that control the position of the pelvis to get tight, overactive, weak and/or inhibited.

As a result, there is an imbalance of pull around the pelvis region causing a net force to tilt forwards.

What muscles do Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

Tight and/or overactive:

  • Iliopsoas
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Anterior Gluteus Medius
  • Pectineus
  • Erector spinae
    • Spinalis, Longissimus, Iliocostalis
  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Thoracolumbar Fascia
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Anterior fibres of the Adductors
  • Sartorius

Weak/inhibited:

  • Gluteal group
  • Hamstring
  • Abdominal group

Exercises for Anterior pelvic tilt

Note: As you become familiar with the Anterior Pelvic Tilt exercises and the effect they have on your pelvis, you will find that you will need to spend more time on certain exercises, and not so much on the others.
Focus on the exercises that are giving you the best results.

1. Can you tuck your pelvis?

[SEE VIDEO]

READ THIS:

If you CAN NOT tilt your pelvis back into a neutral position whilst standing without excessive compensation of your torso and/or legs: I would suggest that you focus more time on the Release and Stretch exercises.

If you CAN: I would recommended that you focus more time on the Strengthening and Control exercises.


2. Releases

a) Lower back

(Target muscles: Erector spinae, Quadratus Lumborum)

releases for anterior pelvic tilt

Instructions:

  • Place a massage ball underneath the muscles of the lower back.
  • Apply the appropriate amount of body weight over the ball.
    • (Aim for those painful spots!)
  • Do not place the ball directly over the middle of the spine.
  • Duration: Continue for 3 minutes on each side.
  • Note: A small amount of bruising can be normal after the first few times doing these self releases.

b) Latissimus Dorsi

lat releases for apt

Instructions:

  • Locate the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.
  • Place the foam roller directly under these muscles.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight onto the foam roller.
  • Roll your body in an up/down motion
  • Do NOT hold your breath.
    • (Ease off the pressure if you are tensing up.)
  • Make sure you cover the entire muscle.
  • Duration: Continue for 2 minutes on each side.

c) Hip flexors

hip flexor releases for apt

Instructions:

  • Locate the Hip Flexors:
    • Rectus Femoris
    • Tensor Fasciae Latae
    • Anterior Adductors
    • Sartorius
    • Pectineus
    • Anterior Gluteus Medius
  • Place a foam roller underneath the target muscles.
  • Apply the appropriate amount of body weight over the foam roller.
    • (Aim for those painful spots!)
  • Duration: Continue for 3 minutes on each side.

3. Anterior Pelvic Tilt Stretches

Before you can start to strengthen any of your weak muscles, you will need to stretch the tight muscles which may be inhibiting them in the first place.


a) Iliopsoaship flexor stretch

Instructions:

  • Assume the lunge position as above.
  • Perform a posterior pelvic tilt
    • “Tuck your tail bone underneath you” 
    • Keep your glutes contracted.
  • Lean your torso away from the side you are stretching.
  • Aim to feel a pulling sensation at the front of your hip.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

b) Rectus Femoris

anterior pelvic tilt stretches

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, pull your ankle behind you as to bend your knee.
  • Stay up right and keep your knees in line with each other.
  • Tuck your tailbone underneath you and drive your hips slightly forward.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the front of your thigh.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

c) Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL)

TFL stretch

Instructions:

  • Assume the forward lunge position. (see above)
  • Keep your feet in line with each other.
  • Proceed to lunge forward.
  • Tuck your tail bone underneath you.
  • Lean your hips to the side whilst using your arm on a support to keep your balance.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the front/outer side of your hip.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.
  • Repeat on other side.
  • For more stretches for the TFL: Tensor Fasciae Latae stretches

d) Groin stretch

adductor stretch

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your back against a wall.
  • Assume the position as shown above.
  • Sit up at tall as possible.
    • Try to create an arch in your lower back.
  • Slowly push your knees down towards the ground.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the groin.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

e) Lower back stretch

Lower back stretch

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Push your knees out to the side.
  • Lean all the way forward.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the lower back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.
  • For more stretches: Erector Spinae Stretches

f) Latissumus Dorsi

lat stretch

Instructions:

  • Assume the position above.
  • Hold onto a door frame with your hand.
  • Whilst anchoring your legs as shown, aim to bend your mid section as much as possible.
    • Use your body weight to sink into the stretch
  • Twist your pelvis away.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the side of your torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.
  • Alternate sides.
  • Do you want more stretches like this? Check out this post: Latissimus Dorsi Stretches.

g) Quadratus Lumborum

quadratus lumborum stretch on ball

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side on an exercise ball.
  • Keep your feet near a wall to maintain balance.
  • Reach over with the arm on the upper side.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the upper side.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 2-3 times.
  • Alternate sides.
  • Do you want more stretches like this? Check out this post: 12 ways to stretch the Quadratus Lumborum.

4. Improve hip Rotation

hip mobility

If you lack rotation in your hip joint, this may prevent your pelvis from achieving a more neutral position.

Depending on the shape of your hip joint, you should have approximately 30-45 degrees of external and internal rotation. (see above image)

To improve INTERNAL Rotation:

a) Posterior hip release

glute release

Instructions:

  • Place your gluteal region on a massage ball.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight.
  • Perform circular motions.
  • Make sure to cover the whole area.
  • Duration: 2 minutes each side.

b) Posterior hip stretch

piriformis stretch in sitting

Instructions:

  • Sit down on the edge of a chair.
  • Place your ankle on the top of the knee of the other leg.
  • Sit as tall as possible as to create an arch in your lower back.
  • Whilst maintaining this arch, pull your knee in the direction of the opposite shoulder.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.

c) Strengthen Hip internal rotators

hip internal rotation strengthening exercise

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your side with your knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your knees together throughout the exercise.
  • Lift up your ankle from the other ankle.
  • Make sure that you do not move your pelvis.
    • Don’t cheat! Only the leg should be moving.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the side of your hip.
  • Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Repeat on other side.

To improve EXTERNAL Rotation:

a) Stretch groin region

stretch to internal rotators

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your back to the wall.
  • Place your feet together.
  • Sit as straight as possible.
  • Push your knees down.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the upper groin area.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Strengthen external rotators

clam shell exercise

Instructions:

  • Lie on your side with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Whilst keeping your ankles together, lift up your upper leg as high as possible
  • Make sure that you do not move your pelvis.
    • Don’t cheat! Only the leg should be moving.
  • Feel your External rotator muscles (aka your butt) activating.
  • Hold for 3 seconds at end range.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • Repeat on other side.

5. Strengthening exercises

Now that your tight/overactive muscles have been stretched/released, the next step is to strengthen the weak muscles to help correct Anterior Pelvic Tilt.

Target muscles:

  • Gluteal group
  • Hamstring
  • Abdominals

a) To strengthen your GLUTEALS:

Bridge

glute strengthening for anterior pelvic tilt

Instructions:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor.
  • Engage your glutes to tilt your pelvis backwards into a neutral position.
    • This should flatten your lower back onto the ground.
  • Engage the core muscles.
  • Drive your hips upwards
    • Aim to feel the contraction of your glutes AND hamstrings.
  • Bridge as high as you can go as long as you keep a neutral spine.
    • Do not over arch your lower back.
  • Hold the end position for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

 Can’t feel your glutes working?

Check out this post: How to activate your Glutes.


b) To strengthen your HAMSTRINGS:

Hip lift

Hamstring strengthening exercise for anterior pelvic tilt

Instructions:

  • Lie on the floor.
  • Place your feet on the wall with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Dig your feels into the wall and lift your tail bone off the floor.
  • Tilt your pelvis backwards.
    • This is to flatten your lower back onto the ground.
  • Feel the tension in your hamstring muscles.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Progression: Alternate lifting your feet off the wall without compromising the pelvis position.

c) To strengthen the ABDOMINALS:

Dead bugs

Your abdominal muscles are connected to the top portion of the pelvis at the front.  They play a vital role in rotating the pelvis back into position.

Dead bug 1core exercises

Instructions:

  • Lie on your back with both of your knees bent in the air. (Position 1)
  • Engage your core and abdominal group by gently drawing in your belly button.
  • Rotate your pelvis backwards.
    • This is to flatten your lower back.
  • Maintain this lower back position. Keep it completely in contact to the ground throughout movement.
    • Do not let your lower back arch!
  • Slowly lower the opposite arm/leg. (Position 2)
    • Lower the better! (… but only if you can keep the lower back FLAT!)
  • Progression: Add 5-10 second holds in Position 2.

Camel pose

Cat camel pose

Instructions:

  • Assume the 4 point kneel position.
  • Tuck in your tail bone to rotate your pelvis backwards.
    • Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in.
  • Exhale all the air in the lungs as you form this position.
  • Hold this for 5 seconds.
    • (or as long as it takes to completely exhale all the air in your lungs)
  • Repeat 10 times.

 Want more exercises like this?

Check out this post: Core exercises for Anterior pelvic tilt


6. Finding neutral pelvis

By now, you should be fairly familiar with the stretching and strengthening of the muscles that contribute to your Anterior Pelvic Tilt.

The next step (… and in my opinion the most important) is learning how to take control of your pelvis position throughout the day.

If you can’t control your pelvis, the problem will continue to manifest! (… no matter how many exercises you do.)


How to determine the neutral position of the pelvis: The main aim with the following exercises is to:

  • Achieve a neutral pelvis in various positions and
  • Gain an understanding of what neutral pelvis FEELS like.

a) Pelvic tilting (4 point kneel)

pelvic tilting

Instructions:

  • Assume the 4 point kneel position.
    • Hand under shoulders.
    • Knees under hips.
  • Find the end range of pelvis movement:
    • Tilt your pelvis all the way forwards.
    • Tilt your pelvis all the way backwards.
  • The neutral pelvis will generally be the midpoint of these two positions.

b) How to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt while sitting

How to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt while sitting

Instructions:

  • To position your pelvis in neutral while sitting, you will need to “Sit on your SIT bones”.
  • To find your sit bones, place your hands (with palms up) underneath your buttocks whilst sitting on a chair.
  • Feel for a pointy bony prominence.
    • (This is your Sit bone!)
  • Think of these bones as upside down TRIANGLES.
    • The goal is to sit directly on the tip (aka the pointiest part) of the triangle (as opposed to the side).
  • This will place your pelvis is a more NEUTRAL position.

c) Standing

posterior tilt of pelvis in standing

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, place your fingers on the ASIS and PSIS.
    • They are the “pointy bones” that stick out the most.
  • To position your pelvis in neutral, you will need to tilt your pelvis in a backwards directions until the ASIS and PSIS are approximately in line with each other.
    • Keep in mind, it is normal to have a slight anterior tilt of 5-10 degrees.

7) Strengthening Exercise (with Neutral pelvis)

a) Hip extension

glute activation exercise

Instructions:

  • Assume the 4 point kneel position
  • Place your pelvis in a neutral position.
    • Engage your core and glute muscles to lock the pelvis in place.
  • Whilst maintaining this alignment, lift your leg as high as possible.
  • Do not let your lower back sink in.
    • You should not feel the lower back contract significantly.
  • Aim to feel the contraction in your glutes.
  • Alternate between sides.
  • Repeat 10 times.

b) Over head reaches

over head exercise for apt

Instructions:

  • Stand up right.
  • Place your pelvis in a neutral position.
    • Activate your core and glute muscles to achieve this.
  • Whilst maintaining your pelvis alignment, raise your hands over your head as far as possible.
  • Do NOT let your ribs to flare outwards.
    • “Keep the ribs down”
    • The lower back should not arch.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • To progress: Perform shoulder presses (with weight) in the standing position.

c) Pull downs

core activation exercises

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing with a slight forward lean, pull the resistance band downwards.
  • Lock your pelvis in a neutral position.
    • Activate your core muscles.
  • Slowly let your arms recoil to the over head position.
  • Your torso and pelvis should not move during this exercise.
    • Do not let your lower back arch backwards!
  • Pull the resistance band back to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

d) Plank

plank

Instructions:

  • Get into the plank position. (see above)
  • Position your pelvis in a neutral position.
    • Engage the core and glutes to stabilize the pelvis.
  • Make sure your lower back does NOT sink in.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

e) Strengthen hip flexors

Wait a minute… Why would you want to strengthen the hip flexors?

In my experience, I find that most people are very weak in these muscles.

(In fact – The hip flexors may be tight as a compensation for being WEAK!)

Concentric:

hip flexor strengthening

Instructions:

  • Whilst sitting with your pelvis in a neutral position,  raise your knee as high as you can go.
    • Do not lean backwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction in the front of your hip.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Eccentric:

hip flexor eccentric strengthening

Instructions:

  • Apply leg weights to your ankles.
  • Lie down at the end of a bed with your legs dangling.
  • Hug one of your knees towards your chest.
  • Allow the other leg to drop off the edge of a bed.
  • Keep your lower back completely flat throughout the whole exercise.
  • Keep your other leg straight.
  • Slowly lower and raise this leg.
    • Allow the leg to drop towards the floor as far as you can go.
  • Aim to feel a stretch and contraction at the front of your hip.
  • Repeat 10 times.

f) Hinge pattern

hinge pattern

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing with a neutral pelvis, hold onto an appropriate amount of weight.
    • (… it should be a moderately heavy weight that you can control)
  • Keep your lower back neutral throughout this exercise.
  • Slowly lower the weight by hinging at the hips.
    • Aim to feel a pulling sensation in the upper hamstring region before returning to the starting position.
    • Keep the weight close to your body.
    • The knees should bend slightly.
    • This lowering phase should take 3-5 seconds.
  • Perform 10 repetitions.
  • Note: The pelvis should stay neutral relative to the spine throughout the movement.

8) Maintaining neutral pelvis

Make an effort to maintain a neutral pelvis in your daily activities such as standing, walking, sitting and hinging.

Key points:

  • Maintain the neutral position of the pelvis throughout movements.
  • Remember to lightly engage the gluteal and abdominals as you are performing any movement/exercise.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of quadriceps and lower back dominant exercises until you can maintain a neutral pelvis.
  • Remember your body’s default setting is to go back into your Anterior Pelvic Tilt. You need to train your brain as much as you need to work on your body to fix this.

The end goal is to maintain your neutral pelvis as effortlessly as possibly. Do not force your posture!

9) breathing and Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Inefficient breathing patterns (such as breathing with flared ribs) can result in the anterior tilt of the pelvis.

Here’s a breathing exercise:
breathing and anterior pelvic tilt

Instructions:

Set up position:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs in a bent position. (see picture)
  • Ensure that your lower back is completely FLAT on the floor.
  • Your lower ribs should not be flared.
  • Keep your neck and shoulders COMPLETELY RELAXED throughout the whole exercise. (use a pillow if required)

Inhalation phase:

  • Take a deep breath of air through your nose.
    • Imagine a ring around the lower portion of your rib cage expanding in a 360 degrees manner.
  • FEEL your lungs and ribs expand.
  • Your lower back should not arch up as you breathe in.
  • Do not flare out your ribs.
  • Keep your neck and shoulders completely relaxed.

Exhalation phase:

  • After you reach maximum inhalation, start to slowly EXHALE through slightly pursed lips.
  • Continue to exhale until your lungs are COMPLETELY empty.
    • Your lower ribs shoulder flatten towards the floor.
    • The abdominal muscles should start to engage as you do this.
  • Maintain this end position as you take a breath in again. (Inhalation phase)
  • Alternate between inhalation and exhalation phase for 3-5 cycles.

10) Other areas to consider

Have you persisted with these Anterior Pelvic Tilt exercises… and still can’t seem to improve the position of the pelvis?

You may need to address other areas of your posture!


a) Thoracic Kyphosis (Hunchback)

thoracic kyphosis

If you have a hunched upper back, the pelvis will compensate by going into an anterior tilt of the pelvis.

This is to keep your head and torso more up right.

For more information: How to fix a HunchBack Posture

b) Lumbar Hyperlordosis

hyperlordosis

If your lower back has an excessive arch (Hyperlordosis), it may be locking your pelvis in an anterior tilt.

For more information: How to fix a Hyperlordosis

c) Flat feet

flat feet anterior pelvic tilt

If you have flat feet, it can cause a domino effect which will end in the pelvis tilting forwards.

Here’s the best exercise for you:

flat feet exercise

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair with your feet on the ground.
  • Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
  • If performed correctly, you should be able to feel the muscles under your foot tense up.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Progress this exercise to a standing position.
For more information: How to fix Flat Feet

11) Other tips

a) Reduce abdominal size

Any extra weight in the region of the belly will pull the pelvis into a forward tilted position.

This usually effects:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who are obese
  • Bloating issues in the gut

b) Full hip extension

When walking – Make sure that you can feel your glutes contract as the leg extends behind you.

I recommend allowing more time for your leg to glide further behind you before lifting it up for the next step.

c) Sit on a taller chair

sit on taller chair

When sitting, make sure your hips are slightly higher than your knees.

This will reduce the amount of hip flexion whilst in the seated position.

The aim of this is to minimize the likelihood of the hip flexor muscles from getting tight.

12) Common Questions

a) How long to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

This is a very difficulty question to answer as there are many variables to consider!

Generally speaking – I would persist with the exercises for at least 6 months to see if the exercises are helping.

b) What exercises to avoid with Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

superman exercise for lower back

Care must taken with any exercise which encourages the hyper extension of the lower back and forward tilt of the pelvis.

This might include exercises such as:

  • Superman extensions
  • Over extending whilst deadlifting/kettle bell swinging
  • Lumbar spine hyper extensions
  • Over head exercises such as shoulder press
  • Planking without core activation
  • Squatting with hyper extended lower back

(Note: You can still perform these exercises as part of a general exercise program, however, make sure that the main focus is on your postural exercises)

c) How should you sleep with an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

How can I sleep with Anterior Pelvic Tilt

If you sleep on your back:

Place a pillow underneath your knees as this will tilt your pelvis back into a more neutral position.


Be persistent with your exercises!

Please note that these are general guidelines to address your Anterior Pelvic Tilt.

As with any rehabilitation program, it needs to be individualized to cater for your unique presentation.

All the best!


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!


About Mark Wong:

Mark is a Physiotherapist who has been helping his patients fix their posture for past 11 years. He created the Posture Direct blog in 2015 with goal of helping people fix their own posture.

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877 thoughts on “How to fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt (Best Exercises)”

  1. Hey Mark is this comment accurate? Pertaining to regaining height and apt?

    He states what height you gain by correcting your apt is offset by khyposis or something? Is this true or is he wrong? Thanks
    It is my experience that exaggerated lumbar lordosis leads to stiffening and straightening of the thorax. As the lordosis is corrected, the upper back regains a healthy and flexible kyphosis not shown in this video that tends to balance off any height gain. Another consideration is that excess lordosis is almost always a compensation for hyperextension through the knees. The flexibility we can regain in our upper back depends greatly upon our capacity to move with our knees unlocked which will also balance off any height gained from lumbar extension.

    This locked knee and upper back coordination is part of the parasympathetic freeze reflex initiated by the dorsal vagus nerve, which also for deterrent purposes attempts to make us look as tall as possible. Most people in modern society are locked in a mild freeze reflex as a matter of habit. The opposite, being activation of the sympathetic chain down the anterior thoracic spine, will kyphose the thorax and compress the front of the body. Caricatures of these extremes would appear tall and narrow with long neck for overly parasympathetic, and short and squat with thick neck for sympathetic. The former is a spring stretched to its maximum with no potential energy, while the latter is a spring coiled and ready to explode. Healthy posture is not locked in either of these extremes, but bounces within a healthy range as we move. A big part of achieving this neurological health involves psychologically letting go of the need to appear as tall as possible and allowing our back to round without the head falling forward which would initiate a slouch.

    It’s as simple as this: as we extend the lumbar spine we widen the body as we engage lateral fibers beginning at the lumbodorsal aponeurosis, such as the lats and tva. This widening comes at the cost of height: the same height that is gained by extension at the lumbar and cervical. I can all but guarantee you that if someone gained 2 inches through correcting their posture, it was due to placing the head properly over the shoulders, not through extension of the lumbar spine. Of course improving spinal health in general will tend to correct forward head posture so there is a correlation, but it is not causal.

    Reply

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