4 Great exercises to fix your anterior pelvic tilt!
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As a doctor of physical therapy, the most common condition that I treat in my clinic is low back pain.
While this is a widespread problem that can come from many different sources, one of the most common causes that I see comes from our posture.
Oftentimes if you have a desk job or spend much of your day sitting you can start to develop this “anterior pelvic tilt” or “sway back” posture. That’s where your hips tuck forward creating a larger-than-normal arch in your lower back.
This can be a source of tightness, discomfort, and eventually even pain.
Today on Tone and Tighten we’re talking all about this low-back posture… specifically what it is, why you get it, and (most importantly) 4 simple exercises you can do to start to solve this issue today!
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HIT PLAY ON THE VIDEO BELOW FOR EXPLANATION AND DEMONSTRATION OF THIS CONDITION AND THESE EXERCISES!
If you’re building a home, you start with the foundation. You want this foundation to be strong, firm, and level, so that the rest of your house can sit squarely on top of it.
Our pelvis is actually the same for our spine. It serves as the “foundation” that our spine sits on top of, and similarly we want it to be strong, firm, and level.
Oftentimes, however this isn’t the case. There are many things that can “pull” our pelvis out of alignment and then our spines have to adjust accordingly.
One of the most-common issues I encounter is this “anterior pelvic tilt” or “sway back” posture that results in low back pain.
Most often this condition is caused by two things – tight hip flexors and weak abs and glutes.
1. TIGHT HIP FLEXORS: your psoas muscle is a primary hip flexor. You have two of them in your body – one on the right and one on the left. This muscle runs from your lower back to the front of your femur (thigh bone) and is responsible for bringing your thigh out in front of you.
Muscles are adaptive. They adjust to stresses (or lack of stresses) placed on them. If you spend long periods of time in a seated position (hip flexion) your hip flexors tend to shorten up.
Then when you stand up again, these short, tight muscles pull your lower back forward into this anterior pelvic tilt position.
2. WEAK LOWER ABS AND GLUTES: conversely, as your hip flexors get tight this “sway back” posture tends to lengthen out our lower abs and glutes. Typically an elongated muscle is a weaker muscle, and we start to develop weakness in our abs and glutes.
In physical therapy, we call this condition a “lower cross syndrome” and it’s the primary source of this poor lower back posture…
SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
The key to treating this condition lies in correcting the problems – stretch the tight hip flexors to allow more room for movement and decreased pull/tension on the lower back coupled with focused strengthening to the lower abs and glutes.
MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR ALTERNATE EXERCISES AND PROPER PERFORMANCE!
Here are a few of my go-to exercises to mitigate these conditions:
1. Hip Flexor Stretch
- Get into a tall kneeling position on your right knee with your left leg out in front of you – left foot on the ground
- Push your weight forward onto your left leg while keeping your right knee in place
- You should feel a pull through the front of your hip and possibly up into your lower back
- Hold 20 seconds and then return to starting position
- 3 x 20 seconds on each side
2. Single Leg Bridge
- Lay on your back with your right knee bent – left leg out straight
- Focus on squeezing your right glutes to raise your hips up off the floor while keeping your left leg straight
- Return to starting position – that’s one rep
- 3 x 10 reps on each side
3. Flutter Kicks
- Lay on your back with your legs our straight
- “Tuck” your hips backwards by bringing your back in contact with the floor
- Hold this position with your lower abs as your bring both feet up off of the floor
- “Flutter” by alternating lifting your straight legs up and down for 20 reps
- 3 x 20 reps total
Anterior pelvic tilt or “sway back” posture is a very real thing. It can cause pain and tightness in your back. Fortunately – you don’t have to live with it.
Performing these exercises regularly can help to mitigate and resolve this condition. These methods have been tested on hundreds of my patients and I know they can work for you, too! Give it a shot… and be sure to let me know what you think!
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