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Background

Over the past 3-4 months, I seem to have gradually caused myself an anterior pelvic tilt, and it's gradually causing stiffness and pain in my lower back. I wish to analyze possible causes and receive some tips on how to actively counteract it.

Workout routines

I follow a very basic 3-split (push, pull, legs) doing the compound exercises you'd expect;

Bench press, incline bench press, pullups, barbell rows, cable rows, squats, deadlifts.

And I of course supplement this with some isolation exercises. But in order to keep this question clean, I'll skip listing it unless any of you find it necessary.

My hypothesis

At my gym, every monday, wednesday and friday, one of the trainers who works there has a little 7 minute session where we do some ab-work, no pause. We do a variety of exercises such as various planks and crunches.

(I'm well aware of the drawbacks to crunches/situps, and I make sure to take proper precautions.)

But here's my theory: During these sessions, we often do "ab exercises" like knee raises, and static leg-raised holds. And I'm one of those people who don't get ANY ab-work done during this. It's all hip-flexors for me.

It seems to me that these exercises are causing my hip-flexors to stiffen up, and give me the anterior pelvic tilt.

Question

Could this be the reason for my anterior pelvic tilt?

For the time being, I plan on skipping these ab sessions, and rely on my own ab work (deadlifts), while catching up on stretching.

Does this seem like the right plan? Any suggestions for more/other measures?

  • If you don't feel your abs during leg raises, make sure you raise your legs high enough that it also raises your butt. This is a larger range of motion than your hip flexors can achieve, so it forces your abs to get in on the movement. – Alex L Feb 16 '16 at 19:03
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For starters, deadlifts don't count as ab work. Sure they may involve your abs, but they also involve various other muscle groups. You don't do just deadlifts if you want bigger lats for instance.

Two common causes for anterior pelvic tilt (that I've seen personally) are either week abs compared to a stronger lower back or weak glutes.

I would suggest re-including leg raises, but making sure to raise your legs high enough to move them beyond the range of motion that your hip flexors are capable of (to guarantee ab involvement). RKC planks (planks where you squeeze your abs as hard as possible) are another great exercise for ab strength. I'm also a personal fan of L-sits for as long as possible or in sets of about a minute each.

Glute strengthening is a little easier to tackle, as there is more variety and easier to integrate into your current program. Paused ATG squats, or stiff-legged deadlifts or RDL (or even sumo deadlifts), or glute bridges / hip thrusts are all great compound movements that involve the glutes to a large degree.

It's often easier to simply start working on your possible weaknesses and reevaluating after a couple weeks or so than trying to guess which one is your weak link and only focusing on that.

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  • Upvoted for differentiating between hip flexor and ab work. It's amazing how many people don't make the distinction. I don't know if I agree with L-sits. I feel them in hip flexors more than abs. Same with straight leg raises, regardless of ROM. Only way I manage to target abs fully on leg raises is with bent leg raises past 90 degrees (not going any lower than 90 degrees). – VSO Feb 20 '16 at 18:24
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  1. Stretch hip flexors.
  2. Strengthen glutes. I actually recommend having your shoulders on a medicine ball to start out if your glutes are weak shit.
  3. Strengthen enter link description here. Edit: Watched video, it's good, use it.
  4. Stretch lower back. These are your basic "touch toes stretches". And yes, they will target hams too, it doesn't matter.
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