Stretches to Fix an Anterior Pelvic Tilt (With Photos)

Updated on July 26, 2017

What Is an Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

An anterior pelvic tilt is the result of several muscle imbalances. It affects mostly people who spend a great part of their time sitting and have a sedentary lifestyle in general. It's a condition in which your hips are pulled forward and you end up with a protruding butt and an excessive lumbar curve.

Basically, you need to stretch different muscles to get the balance right again.

I worked with a kinesiologist who specialized in posture and she told me that the way that physical therapists and kinesiologists used to treat the problem turned out to be a total failure.

She helped me fix my anterior pelvic tilt and also my rounded shoulders and there was no strengthening of any kind involved, it was all stretching and mobilizing.

The following stretches are the best that I have found and have made huge progress.

Trigger Points

Before stretching, locate your trigger points. Trigger points are really sensitive points in the muscle that need to be released. How do you find them? Use a tennis ball or a baseball and locate the part of the muscle that is exceedingly sensitive. You know it is a sensitive point because it hurts a lot but also because usually the pain will travel to another part of the body.

For example, the pain you feel when pressing a trigger point in the hamstrings could go down the entire leg. This is a sign of chronic tension.

Massage those trigger points pressing on them and doing micro circular movements on them. Do that for two minutes before each stretch.

Hip Flexor and Psoas

The hip flexors and the psoas pull the hips forward and create an anterior pelvic tilt. These are one of the main culprits. So here goes the first stretch, do the exercises in that particular order:

  • Put yourself in a lunge position.

  • Lean forward.

  • Raise Arm to increase stretch

Full video

What Causes Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

The main culprits are tensed-up lower back, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and piriformis. Some of these muscles are short and tight others are long and tight, it doesn't matter they are all tight and thus weak muscles. They lack flexibility which means that they lack the capacity to change The flexibility of a joint is dependent upon the extensibility (ability to extend without causing tissue damage) and elasticity (ability of muscle to return to its original size and shape after being stretched or shortened) of the structures surrounding it (e.g. the ligaments and fibrous joint capsule).

Lower Back Stretch

When the hips are pulled forward the butt is inhibited and the lower back has to compensate for this weakness and do double the work which manifests itself as lower back tightness.

  • Starting position (seated as below).

  • Let yourself lean down to the side.

  • Roll top shoulder forward and lean further to the side.

  • Reach arm off the body as far as possible.

  • Roll top shoulder even further forward.

Full Video

Quadriceps Stretch

If you have tight quadriceps it can affect the tigthness of the hip flexors which pull the hips forward. The squeleton is a kinetic chain. If the quadriceps pull a joint out of alignement then that will affect the position of the joint next to it etc...

  • Starting position (below).

  • While tucked, lean forward.

  • Press against wall with ball of foot.

  • Drag knee forward.

Full Video

Advanced Hip Flexor Stretch

It's important to do the advanced hip flexor stretch before the hamstring stretch (the next exercise) because if your hip flexors are tight you will experience pain in the front of the hip while doing it called hip impingement. You will feel a crushing or bony sensation, for most people, the HFs are too hard (tight) to get out of the way and this is necessary for any of the P. stretches. You need a strong stretch like this one in order to loosen up the hip flexors, they are one of the main culprits in anterior pelvic tilt.

If you use Kit Laughlin's method to stretch your HF you will not only lengthen it, but will help diminish the resting tonus of the muscle in any position which will make it softer.

This means that when it gets crushed by something like the hamstring or piriformis stretch, it simply softly moves out of the way.

  • Starting position (below).

  • Pull yourself forward.

  • Drag knee forward.

  • Straighten back leg.

  • Drag whole back leg forward.

Full Video

Hamstring Stretch

When the butt is weak the hamstrings have to tighten to compensate. Chronic tightness then appears. This is maybe one of the hardest body parts to stretch because it is particularly resistant to change.

I've noticed there is a lot of fear involved because there is a dread of tearing your hamstrings. If you go on with too much force and impatience, the muscles will tighten even more the next day. The body reacts as if it were attacked so you have to go about it very gently. That is my experience.

You should be in a comfortable position at all times, if it feels like too intense a sensation it probably is and you will pay for it the next day. Go about it progressively, once you don't feel a stretch anymore go deeper into the exercise and so on.

  • Starting position (below).

  • Press your abdominals against your thigh and push leg forward using quadriceps.

  • Bring hips back.

  • Pull back heel toward bottom.

  • Pull heel straight downward.

  • Increase the stretch even more by pushing with quadricep muscles.

Wall Calf Stretch

The calf is one of the muscles that get tight when there is an anterior pelvic tilt. Along with the hamstrings they get tight in order to compensate for your butt weakness.

  • Take a small step towards the wall.

  • Lean in towards the wall.

  • Bend at the knee slightly.

Full Video

Piriformis Stretch

When you sit too much the hip flexors and the adductors get too short and the butt becomes inhibited when you slouch in your chair with your hips rotated outward it puts a lot of strain on your low back and makes your hips so tight that you create an imbalance in the entire system

  • Starting position (below).

  • Press hip on the floor.

  • Lift the chest along the leg and bring knee closer to armpit.

Full Video

One-Legged Downward Dog Stretch

This is the most advanced exercise of this article. You need to master all the previous exercises to be able to do this correctly and get optimal results.

This is a very important stretch for your calf muscles and the whole inner fascia.

This is the key to ankle and calf flexibility, tight calves are a by-product of the pelvis tilting forward and a way for the body to compensate for an inhibited or inactive butt so it makes sense to stretch this muscle and the whole inner fascia in order to go in reverse and counter the anterior pelvic tilt.

  • Starting position (below).

  • Stick bum out.

  • Bring leg higher and move armpits toward toes (keeping hips level).

  • Push heel to the ground.

Full Video

Important Tips

  • Always massage with a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, if you can take it, before stretching for optimal results.
  • If you feel that a muscle is being stubborn and you can't seem to progress no matter what you do, I may be best to leave it and do another stretch. The body has its own logic, it is saying to you that you are not ready or meant to stretch this particular muscle at this particular time. Don't be stubborn. Listen to your body. It knows best.

Have You Suffered From Anterior Pelvic Tilt?

If so what was the hardest body part to stretch?

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    • profile image

      mistake 2 months ago

      isnt it a mistake to stretch hamstring? Research pls

    • Claude Borel profile image

      Claude Borel 20 months ago from Santiago de Chile

      Why aren't you able to? Where does it hurt? Or where do you feel some kind of restriction?

    • profile image

      h michelle 2 years ago

      I have this issue. I am not able to sit korean style (knees bent). My squat has a limited range of motion as well

    • ArianaLove profile image

      ArianaLove 2 years ago

      Great article! Very useful information.

    • Claude Borel profile image

      Claude Borel 2 years ago from Santiago de Chile

      Thank you a lot erorantes, it means a lot to me that people appreciate what I do.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

      I like your hub. It is good to know how to exercise for some parts of the body. When there is a serious problem. I am happy you wrote this article. You did an excellent job. Thank you for sharing what you know.