What is Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Anterior pelvic tilt (APT) also known as lower crossed syndrome is a common postural disorder where your pelvis is tilted forward which forces an excessive curve in lumbar lordosis – in the lower back.
Your pelvis is important, helps you walk, run, and lift weight off the ground. It also contributes to proper posture as pelvic muscles are part of core muscles.
Some research suggests that as many as 85% of men and 75% of women, who do not show any symptoms, have an anterior pelvic tilt. And while it’s not necessarily problematic in-and-of-itself, it certainly isn’t an optimal posture, and could lead to problems down the road including pelvic floor dysfunction, lower back pain, hip and knee issues, incorrect posture.
What Causes Anterior Pelvic tilt?
There are numerous causes for anterior pelvic tilt.
It’s often caused by excessive sitting with poor posture.
Not enough exercise and stretching to counteract the effects of sitting all day.
Poor exercise technique - excessive lower back arching during squat or deadlift.
Foot pronation - many postural issues start at the ground. Improper foot ergonomics can have knock-on effects.
Excessive sitting causes hip flexors to tighten, which causes a change in the position of the pelvis. If the hip flexors take over spinal stability you compromise pelvic alignment. This muscle imbalance coincides with weak abdominal and gluteus maximus muscles. In this case, we can refer to it as pelvic crossed syndrome or lower crossed syndrome.
How can I fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt?
Corrective exercise can help improve performance, and reduce the risk of injury.
So, if you’d like to reduce or eliminate your anterior pelvic tilt, you’ll want to focus on a couple of things:
Strengthen your glutes and abs
Stretch your hip flexors
Here are some exercises that will help you do that:
Standing posterior pelvic tilt
From a standing position with feet shoulder width apart, exhale and tuck your tailbone – flatting out your lower back – as you reach your tailbone as far forward as you can. Squeeze your glutes and contract your core as you imagine pouring water out the back of your pelvic "bowl".
Lying posterior pelvic tilt
This is the same exercise as above, just done on the floor. Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, exhale and tuck your tailbone – pushing your lower back into the floor – as you contract your core, drawing your belly in.
Split-kneeling hip flexor stretch
From a split-kneeling position (i.e. one foot down and one knee down), lengthen your spine and tuck your tailbone forward as you squeeze your glutes until you feel a stretch in the hip flexor muscles on the front of your rear leg.
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, exhale and press through your feet to lift your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes until you reach full hip extension (i.e. with a straight line from knees to hips to shoulders). Lower back down under control.
Resting on your elbows and feet, lengthen your spine, squeeze your glutes, contract your core, and tuck your tailbone, holding this position for time.
1. The Bone & Joint JournalVol. 99-B, No.2
"Variation in functional pelvic tilt in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty"
J. Pierrepont, G. Hawdon, B. P. Miles, B. O’ Connor, J. Baré, L. R. Walter, E. Marel, M. Solomon, S. McMahon, A. J. Shimmin
2. Al-Eisa, E., Egan D., Fenety A. (2004).
"Association between lateral pelvic tilt and asymmetry in sitting pressure distribution". Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, 12(3), 133-142. Ebscohost.com
3. Lee Herrington, Directorate of Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy, Allerton Building, University of Salford, Manchester
"Assessment of the degree of pelvic tilt within a normal asymptomatic population" Manual Therapy Volume 16, Issue 6, December 2011, Pages 646-648