What is an anterior pelvic tilt?
An anterior pelvic tilt is a postural condition believed to affect up to 85 percent of men and 75 percent of women. In simple terms, the front of the pelvis rotates forward causing the back of the pelvis to rise. Left untreated it can lead to a change in posture and a noticeable arch of the lower spine. Very often, people are not aware they have the condition unless they begin to notice symptoms which may include:
- Tight pelvic and thigh muscles.
- Weak stomach and gluteus muscles.
- Hyperextension of the knee.
- Pain in the lower back and hamstrings.
- A pronounced inward curve of the lower spine and a protruding stomach.
What causes an anterior pelvic tilt?
An anterior pelvic tilt occurs when there is a conflict between underactive and overactive muscles. If the abdominals and the glutes are weak then the hip flexors and erector spinal muscles become overactive in compensation. Weak stomach muscles also play a part in causing or exacerbating the condition. So what causes this muscle imbalance?
- Prolonged periods of sitting
- Lack of physical activity
- General poor posture and slouching
- Genetic factors such as the pelvic bone structure
- Poor exercise technique especially during squats and deadlifting weights
- Forgoing stretching and strengthening exercise prior to and after exercise
- Foot pronation
How to fix an anterior pelvic tilt
With perseverance, an anterior pelvic tilt can be corrected, however, these prevention tips might reduce the risk of developing it in the first place. When jobs involve prolonged periods of sitting, the correct positioning of the desk, seat, and screen is important while regular walking and stretching breaks should be built into the daily routine. Whether sitting, standing, or walking, proper posture should be maintained at all times.
To fix an anterior pelvic tilt and return the pelvis to a neutral position, these five simple exercises should be carried out daily. They focus on strengthening the muscles of the leg, especially the hamstrings and buttocks as well as the pelvic and lower spine areas.
1. Squats (10 to 20 repetitions): squats develop the buttock and hamstring muscles, helping to improve posture.
Begin with feet slightly wider than hip-width and toes slightly turned out. Tighten the stomach muscles before lowering the hips back and down until the thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep heels glued to the floor and do not extend the knees beyond the toes. Hold for a couple of seconds before slowly pushing back up through the hips.
2. Lying pelvic tilt (five sets of 10 repetitions): the pelvic tilt strengthens the core abdominal muscles and returns the pelvis to a neutral position.
Lie on the floor with knees bent upwards. Pull in stomach muscles, push the spine into the floor and tilt the pelvis upwards. Hold for 10 seconds before relaxing and repeating.
3. Kneeling rear leg raises (10 repetitions on each leg): this exercise strengthens the stomach muscles while stretching the lower back and buttock muscles. Start on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Pull in stomach muscles and raise the right leg back until it forms a straight line with the spine. Point the toes, hold for five seconds, lower, and repeat.
4. The glute bridge (10 – 20 repetitions): this exercise provides a good workout for the hamstrings and the buttock muscles. Lie face upward on the floor with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Tighten stomach muscles until the back is flat against the floor. Keeping stomach muscles tight, lift the hips off the floor so the upper body and thighs are in a straight line. Hold, before gently lowering to the floor.
5. The plank: although this is a tricky exercise to master, it is worth persevering until the position can be held for a minute or more. It provides an excellent workout for the back and stomach muscles. Lie face down with hands directly under the shoulders. Tighten the thigh and stomach muscles while slowly lifting the thighs and upper body off the ground into a push-up position. Keep stomach muscles fully engaged and the body straight and rigid. Hold for as long as possible before gently lowering to the floor.