Neutral Pelvic Position to Fix APT
Stretching and strength training exercises alone will not fix your anterior pelvic tilt. In training clients who did correct their anterior pelvic tilt, I’ve noticed the real key is the position in which you do your exercises.
By position, I’m not talking about whether you are lying on your back, standing, or kneeling. I’m talking about being in a position of a neutral pelvic position.
So what is neutral pelvic position? It means you have the ability to either place a stick on your back and touch your low back to your thumb (like in this video below):
If you’re lying on your back, it means you can touch the stick with your low back. It’s also fine if you flatten your whole low back to the floor although not everyone needs to do this.
Why does your pelvic position matter so much? If you start a stretch or a strength training exercise in anterior pelvic tilt, you are reinforcing that anterior pelvic tilt.
One of the biggest issues I see in many new clients is they don’t think about their pelvic position before exercising. For example, they will set up to do deadlifts in anterior pelvic tilt, perform the deadlifts, and think they are getting out of anterior pelvic tilt. This is wrong. This merely reinforces the anterior pelvic tilt position. Don’t forget: if you have anterior pelvic tilt, your default position is anterior pelvic tilt. You need to think about your pelvic position before every exercise you do.
Beginning an exercise already in anterior pelvic tilt places the low back muscles and hip flexors in perfect position to assist, the opposite of what we want. Remember, getting the hip flexors and low back stronger will only reinforce anterior pelvic tilt.
The bottom line is if you start out in anterior pelvic tilt, you will stay in anterior pelvic tilt. However, starting out in a neutral pelvic position doesn’t guarantee you will stay neutral.
Anterior pelvic tilt is both an alignment problem and a movement problem. This means that even when you fix your alignment problem or if you start out neutral, you’re still very likely to move into anterior pelvic tilt as you perform your exercise. Notice how in the two pictures below, the individual starts out in neutral posture, but quickly moves into anterior pelvic tilt with their movement.
In the next video, we’ll talk about the best ways to handle movement problems associated with anterior pelvic tilt. However, if you don’t start neutral, you’re already dead in the water! It doesn’t do any good to try to fix a movement problem if you don’t start out correctly.
This is why you need to make sure your initial position is neutral. To do this, test it. Remember our standing test in the last video? One of the main goals of the last video was to see if you could touch your thumb behind your low back with a stick. If you already tested yourself in standing, then you need to test the other positions listed below.
Supine (lying on your back): Can you touch your low back to the floor or your low back to a stick or fingers under your low back?
For the rest of the positions, can you touch your low back to your thumb with a stick on your back?
Half Kneeling (Check both sides)
Standing Split Stance (Check both sides)
Here is your new guideline: Only use the positions in which you can start from a neutral position. For example, if you can get neutral in supine, prone, quadruped, standing, but not half kneeling and tall kneeling, then you should not do exercises in half kneeling and tall kneeling (at least for now). You can do exercises in the other positions however.
Only using positions in which you can start from a neutral position will enable you to train effectively in those positions and allow you to eventually progress to the other positions. In our next series, we’ll go over how to stay neutral when actually performing your exercises. For now, stay neutral!