Fixing an Anterior Pelvic Tilt

An anterior pelvic tilt (APT) is a common problem that is often exacerbated by sitting for long periods of time and having poor posture. Ignoring a prominent APT in an athlete can eventually lead to serious lower back pain. It can be observed when in a normal standing posture the athletes stomach sticks out, creating an exaggerated arch in the lumbar spine. When laying down on their back, there will be a large cavity between the low back and the ground. Although an APT is natural to some people, it can certainly be fixed.

The first step in correcting an APT is to simply make the athlete aware of their poor posture, and then teach them how to notice and correct their posture on their own. An easy way to do this is to have them stand flat up against a wall. Have them suck in their gut a little until their low back is flat against the wall. This simple technique can be employed any time they are sitting or standing for a long period of time and feel their posture slipping. It will require more activation from the core, but over time simply being aware of their posture can help solve the issue.

The second step is to directly strengthen the weak muscles. There are multiple forces pulling on the pelvis that can create an anterior or posterior tilt. For an APT, the weak muscles are often the abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings. Great exercises for the abs include planks (making sure not to let the hips sag), V ups, and pikes. Glute bridges, the glute ham machine, and kettlebell swings are great exercises to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings directly.

The third step is to loosen up the tight muscles in the hip complex. The tight muscles in an APT are the hip flexors, quads, and spinal erectors. To stretch the hip flexors, use the kneeling hip flexor stretch (get in the lunge position with the back knee touching the ground and hands over your head, then lean your hips forward while staying upright with your torso). The bench quad stretch hits the quads and the hip flexors (put your back foot onto of a bench and your front foot stepping forward with the knee at 90 degrees. Sink you back knee towards the ground). A great stretch for the low back and spinal erectors are back rolls (curl up in a ball, squeezing your knees tight against your chest, then roll back onto your spine, slowly rocking back and forth).

The fourth step is to incorporate the correct posture into lifting, primarily the squat and deadlift. A cue for beginners in the squat and pulls is to arch the low back to avoid excess rounding of the spine. This cue should not be used on athletes with APT since they already have too prominent of an arch in their back. The goal should be to maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift. Better cues might be to squeeze the core, drive the hips forward, or keep the chest tall. Depending on the athlete or how bad the APT is, it might take time to correct the tilt, but it is better to correct the issue before an injury is caused by an APT and they are forced to stop normal training and correct the issue.

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