A good posture indicates proper distribution of stress to the intended muscles and ligaments. The muscles work efficiently while the joints teardown is reduced – leading to normal functionality of the nervous system as well as the vital organs.
Improper postures develop due to tightening of muscles or weak core muscles that are incapable of holding and properly aligning the torso and hips.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt (also called as Lower Crossed Syndrome) is a typical postural imbalance, where your pelvis is tilted forward from your spine. This in effect, pulls the lumbar spine into lordosis, making your glutes stick out. The prolonged stretching of the abdominal muscles, glutes and hamstrings caused by the pull, leads to an extremely weakened anterior core.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt or APT occurs from inactivity, muscular imbalances, or poor neural control of the posture. The hip flexor group of muscles become exhausted and lose flexibility, while the rear muscles supporting the pelvis, weakens.
For instance, locking the knees in a straightened position while standing, leads to the tightening of the front pelvic muscles- tensor fascia latae (TFL) and rectus femoris. This habitual tightness creates an increase in the lordotic curve of the spine, stresses the tissues attached to the vertebrae, and leads to APT.
Prolonged sitting forward on the chair while working on a computer also makes the pelvis drop forward and increases the lumbar curve. Lack of stretching and strengthening exercises, or excessive weight gain are also sources of this dreaded tilt. Even pregnancy can cause APT, as the weight of the fetus pulls the stomach and pelvis forward, forcing the spine to lug backwards for balance.
For some individuals or athletes, APT is one of the most common postural ‘adaptation’ to life or training; while for others – it can be a potential cause for severe low backache, hip or knee pain.
Maintaining the correct postures for sitting, standing or even lying coupled with ample back support becomes imperative to lead a healthy, pain free life. It also improves the circulation and digestion within the body, and makes our breathing easier and deeper.
There are several ways and exercises to correct an anterior pelvic tilt:
The plank exercise engages all the core muscle groups, especially the stomach muscles and back. Just ensure to keep the elbows below your shoulders, legs and back straight and aligned with the spine.
A rib flare occurs due to weak abs that are unable to hold your ribs down, and end up in fatigued hip flexors. The side stretch focuses on strengthening the intercostal muscles that is – the muscles between the ribs, while the lower abdominal exercises tone up the lower abs.
The pretzel stretch primarily tightens the glutes, but also works towards strengthening the hip flexors as well as the lower back. The glutes bridge exercise with leg kicks enhances the hamstrings.
Take a look at the following infographic that details some of the steps that can be taken to fix your posture. The intention is to mobilize the lumbar and thoracic spine, anterior hip and strengthen the anterior core and glutes.