Best Supine Positions for Anterior Pelvic Tilt (APT)
Supine lying on your back is my favorite position for getting out of APT because you can immediately tell if you’re in a neutral pelvic position. All you have to do is to flatten your whole back to the ground to know if you’re neutral.
Technically, this is going into a posterior pelvic tilt, but since flattening the back can heavily recruit the obliques, I think it’s better than simply bringing your low back to a stick on the floor. However, for some individuals using a stick under the low back is still fine.
For this article, we’re not going to go over the best exercises because exercises alone won’t do anything. It’s your position that matters, so we’re going to go over the best supine positions to help you get out of APT.
The progression for supine exercises is pretty straightforward. The only guideline is:
Your low back must start out flat and stay flat throughout the whole movement.
Getting into these positions will be very easy for some of you. However, keeping the back flat in the different supine positions while you are doing exercises like presses and rows will be much more challenging or even impossible at first.
If it is too difficult to keep your back flat for the majority of your reps, you should use an easier variation.
Here are the variations progressing from easiest to most difficult:
We’ll begin in the 90-90 position which looks like this:
In this position, most people’s low back will already be flattened, but some will not. Regardless, you should feel that you can still flatten the low back using your obliques. Press into your sides to make sure they are activated. Some people will only use their rectus abdominis to flatten the back, but you should be using your obliques because these will be weaker than the rectus abdominis.
While the 90-90 position is the easiest position to flatten your back, many individuals will have a hard time doing presses or rows without their low back coming off the ground. If this is the case, you don’t need an easier variation, you just need to reduce the intensity of the exercise, the range of motion, or both, and focus on keeping your low back flattened throughout the exercise.
The next progression is flexing the hips to a 45 degree position like this:
Most people will probably be able to flatten their backs in this position. If necessary you can bring the legs down further to 30 degrees or 15 degrees.
The next progression is having the legs straight.
If you find it challenging to simply flatten your back in any of the positions above, you can use this as a a dedicated strength training exercise.
Feel free to mix things up. For example, if you find it’s difficult to flatten your back with the straight leg position, you may want to do all your pressing and rowing in the 45-degree position, but include some dedicated sets flattening the back with the legs straight.
Some women and men carry most of their body fat in the lower body including the gluts. These individuals may need to use a stick or small pad about half an inch to an inch thick under their low backs for the 45 degrees and legs straight position.
Using any one of the three positions above, you can do a variety of exercises including:
· Dead Bugs (which we’ll go through in the next article)
· DB or BB Floor Presses
· DB Fly’s (probably off bench)
· Band Rows
· Band Reverse Fly’s
· DB Pull Over’s
· Band Extensions
I’m not a huge fan of the standing, kneeling, or even straight leg prone positions when someone is in APT. Quadruped is possible, but usually only with limited range of motion. These positions encourage and reinforce the APT position unless one can start and stay neutral with a stick on their back.
Do your pressing, rowing, or extension exercises in whatever of the three supine positions allows you to keep your back flat. Once you can consistently keep your back straight during the straight leg supine position, you are ready to try prone, kneeling, or standing.