Fix Your Tilted Pelvis by Learning How to Stretch Tight Hip Flexors
This page is aimed at helping you improve your tilted pelvis, particularly anterior pelvis tilt, and will also let you know what exactly this issue is.
Keep reading on down this page to find out more.
You may also be aware that your lower back has an exaggerated arch (sway back) too.
These two postural problems are closely related, however, I have broken them down into separate pages simply because not everyone is aware of this.
This may occur because your tilted pelvis pulls your lower spine forwards causing sway back. You can find more information about sway back over on the Correct Back Posture page.
Here on this page I want to show you what are the main causes when it comes to developing a tilted pelvis and then show you how you can go about improving it.
What You’ll Learn – Quick Links
- Why is proper pelvis alignment important?
- Causes for a tilted pelvis.
- How to test for it.
- How to fix it.
- Other ways to help.
With this particular postural problem becoming more and more common, due to the nature of our jobs, I believe this is something that more people should become aware of so that they can actually do something about it.
Why is it important to maintain proper pelvis alignment?
Your pelvis is responsible for supporting your spine and all of the weight that comes with your upper body, if you have a tilted pelvis this effectively shifts your bodies center of gravity.
Now, rather than your upper body weight being supported by your pelvis, it’s now being supported by the lumbar region of your spine.
This added pressure on your spine can lead to developing a slipped disk, which can be excruciating, also, while your center of gravity remains out of position your balance can be affected too.
The pain that comes with a tilted pelvis can be really hard to deal with, so much so that it can affect any day to day activity, which can lead you to feeling depressed.
By maintaining a good pelvis alignment you minimize the risk of hip and pelvis pain.
What causes a tilted pelvis?
As human beings we have evolved into being an upright species, to walk and to run, we’re not designed to be sitting down all day like most of us do.
With more people tending to sit down at work (60% of daily sitting is done at work according to this blog post), for me sitting down and inactivity is right up there as the most common cause of a tilted pelvis.
When you sit down for long periods of time, without regular stretching, the muscles in your hips contract, this leads them to become tight and shortened, limiting your hips’ movement capabilities, especially in the elderly.
The primary affected muscles are the hip flexors and hip extensors.
This group of muscles comes into play when you bend at the waist and when raising your legs.
If you have tight hip flexors, while hip extensors have also been lengthened, when you stand up they pull on the lumbar region of your spine and also on your femur (upper leg).
This can then result in a forward tilted pelvis (anterior pelvis tilt) which, if left, can lead to decreased mobility, increased hip pain and even pain in your lower back and legs, then there’s the protruding belly and butt!
How to tell if I have a tilted pelvis?
As previously mentioned, one of the most obvious ways to tell if you have a tilted pelvis is to see if your butt and your belly seems to stick out more than they should.
You can check this by having a friend or partner take a picture of you from the side. If you notice you have an exaggerated arch in your lower back and your butt and belly sticks out, then you likely have tilted hips.
This is probably because of tight hip flexors and you should continue down the page to learn some stretches and exercises to help loosen them which, in turn, will help you to realign your tilted pelvis.
If you’re still unsure and would like to test with a slightly more complex test then I’ve outlined some steps below which you can use to see if you really do have a tilted pelvis.
This is called the Thomas Test and is a test to see if you have tight hip flexors and/or tight rectus femoris (one of the quadriceps muscles – upper leg).
To perform this test you will need a sturdy table or something similar such as a weight bench that you’re able to lay back on.
- Sit on the edge of your table, quite far out but making sure your butt and upper thigh is firmly on the table.
- From this position lower your back to lay down on the table and bring your knees up to your chest until your lower legs are almost parallel to your body.
- Lower the leg you wish to test back down onto the table while keeping hold of the other knee to your chest.
- You now need to check if the thigh of the leg you’re testing is down on the table. If your thigh is resting on the table and your lower leg is hanging around 70°-90° (degrees) to your upper leg then everything is fine and there is little to no tightness in your hip flexors or your rectus femoris, if your thigh is down but your leg hangs less than 70° it’s likely your rectus femoris is tight. If your thigh does not touch the table move onto the next step.
- If the thigh you’re testing is not on the table then straighten your leg out in front of you, this should relax your rectus femoris, at this point if your thigh touches the table your hip flexor is fine and you have tight rectus femoris, if your thigh still does not touch the table then you have tight hip flexors.
So now you know how to test for a tilted pelvis and should know for sure if you have this condition, below you can find how to relieve your tight hip flexors and this will help you well on your way to having correct pelvis alignment.
Introducing The No.1 System to Fix Your Tilted Pelvis
Click the image to learn more.
Exercises to relieve tight hip flexors and fix your tilted pelvis
Exercise 1 – The Forward Lunge
Stand with your knees and feet hip width apart and take a large step forward with the leg of your choice.
Bend at the knee 90° with the leg that is forwards, make sure to keep your back straight while you lower your body.
At this point your back leg should be slightly bent, you can rest the back knee on the floor if you find it easier as shown in the next image.
Hold this position for a minimum of 30 seconds, you should be able to feel the stretch in your hip, if not then try pressing your hips forwards until you feel it.
Repeat for the other leg and do 5 total with each leg 2 or 3 times a day.
Doing forward lunges stretches tight hip flexors, which pull down on your lower spine and hips causing the development of a tilted pelvis and sway back , therefore, this exercise will help relieve the tension between the two, allowing your hips to move back into the correct position.
Exercise 2 – Prone Quadriceps Stretch
- Lay face down on your floor, mat or table, with arms alongside running down the body pointing towards your feet. If you have bad knees it might be a good idea to put a small pillow under them at this point.
- Choose a leg and bend at the knee so that you can reach your ankle with the same side hand and hold onto it.
- Pull your ankle towards you until you feel a stretch in your upper leg, when you do, hold this position for 20 – 30 seconds.
- After holding position, release and return to starting position, repeat for the other leg. Do this 5 times for each leg.
Your Rectus Femoris aids in lifting your upper leg towards your chest or visa versa and also bending your chest down towards your legs. It is because of tight rectus femoris and tight hip flexors that your pelvis tilts forwards, therefore, it is essential you stretch both of these muscles and not just the hip flexors alone.
Exercise 3 – The Bridge
Lay on your back laying on your floor or a mat and bring your knees up until your feet are flat on the floor. Your arms should be down by your side and feet shoulder width apart.
Now while tensing your abdominal muscles, (this will cause your lower back to go down into the floor/mat) while also tensing your glutes (your butt muscles!), lift your hips off of the floor until you can picture a straight line running from your knees, through your hips and then to your shoulders.
Hold this position for 30 seconds and then return back down to start position and relax. Perform twice more.
Perform this exercise 4 – 5 times daily, before you sleep isn’t a bad time.
This exercise targets all of your core muscles, strengthening your core will help your body remain in its correct posture alignment. Performing the Bridge also helps you learn how to fully engage your hips, bringing them back into the correct position in the process.
Here are some other ways to improve a tilted pelvis
Believe it or not walking is actually a great exercise and personally one of my favorites.
When you walk you work out so many of your muscles and, in terms of helping your posture, strengthening your abdominal muscles, your glutes and your hamstrings while also stretching your hip flexors and your quadriceps, which we already know helps to fix a tilted pelvis.
Your sleeping position can in fact affect your posture, sleeping on your side with your knees high up towards your chest for example can lead to developing a tilted pelvis.
If you do sleep on your side then you shouldn’t have your knees high up, try having them bent slightly with a pillow between them, this will help relieve tension on your hips and stop your legs pulling on your spine.
Now, with all this information in your arsenal you should be able to actively take steps to finally fix your tilted pelvis.
I strongly suggest that you go through this page thoroughly.
Your pelvis, or your hips, are so important to your overall posture and can affect you in more ways than one.
If you are still struggling with tight hip flexors I suggest you go check out Unlock Your Hip Flexors, a program designed to teach you how to effectively work on that hard to reach set of muscles that is your hip flexors.
We can see above the causes for a tilted pelvis and the hip flexor is, in some way, always affected.
That’s why when it comes to fixing a tilted pelvis, tight hip flexors is usually the first thing that we try to loosen up and strengthen before anything else.
How did you find these exercises, did they help you? Let me know in the comments below.