The Influence of Anterior Pelvic Tilt on Hip Flexion Mobility

Several months ago I featured a couple of posts discussing the importance of hip flexion strength and how to assess and enhance hip flexion strength.  Since then, I have receive a lot of feedback from people saying that they have been working on their hip flexion strength but feel that they still don’t have good functional hip flexion strength when doing the step over FMS test or the functional hip flexion test:

YouTube Preview Image

There is one more reason that you may be struggling with this in addition to the lack of strength and dynamic stability that I previously discussed that centers around mobility.

If you look at the picture below of Janda’s lower body cross syndrome, what do you notice about the position of the hip?

 

Janda Lower Body Cross Syndrome

 

Because the pelvis is already anteriorly tilted, the horizon (your leg perpendicular to the ground) is not really 90 degrees of hip flexion.  You are starting the movement already in a position of hip flexion, so would naturally have less ability to flex the hips.  You may have the same exact amount of hip flexion as someone else, but if you are starting in a flexed position, you would have the illusion that you actually have less.

Simplifying this and the numbers to make it easy to understand, take a look at the picture below.  See how the hip is sitting in 45 degrees of flexion because of the anterior pelvic tilt.  That means if you raise the hip up 45 degrees, you are actually in about 90 degrees of hip flexion.

 

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

 

Many people have told me that they started to work hip hip stretches and even hip capsular stretches to increase their hip flexion.  One could argue that you actually wouldn’t want to do this.  If you don’t improve your pelvic tilt first, then you may actually be overstretching your muscles and joint.

Rather, focus on your anterior pelvic tilt by strengthen the core, glutes, and hamstrings while working on lengthening the hip flexors and back extensors.  This is a simplistic view of correcting an anterior pelvic tilt but a good start in the right direction.

This isn’t rocket science, but something to consider.  Sometimes we get in trouble by assuming that the body is perfectly aligned in neutral and that raising the leg parallel to the ground is 90 degrees when it isn’t always the case.

 

Opt In Image
Learn More From Mike!
Subscribe to my newsletter now and get these 3 FREE bonuses:
  • My new 1 hour+ webinar "5 Things You Need to Understand to Master Functional Rehab and Performance"
  • My popular 36-page eBook "Solving the Patellofemoral Mystery"
  • My Accelerated Rehab Protocol following ACL Reconstruction

Comment on Facebook

comments

11 Responses to “The Influence of Anterior Pelvic Tilt on Hip Flexion Mobility”

  1. Excellent Post Mike.

    Do you seem to find this going both ways if an athlete shows an inability to fully extend the hip during a sprint, in regards to a reduced ROM in perceived extension from already present posterior tilt of the pelvis??

    • Thanks Kyle, this is definitely possible. Also, the shortened position of the hip flexor may limited the extension and a compensatory external rotation of the acetabulum on the femur may also limit the femur’s ability to IR on the acetabulum…. this is way more complicated, though, and a much bigger discussion But, to answer your question, yes!

  2. Hi Mike,

    If you say people have started to work hip stretches to fix their length tension relationship in their pelvis but then say that you may be overstretching your capsule and hips but than say strength while improving length of hip flexors and back extensors are you saying they lengthen from reciprocal inhibition of strengthening or are there certain lengthening exercises you feel are better than others combined with a strengthening program?

    Thanks for the clarification!

    Isaac

    • Thanks Isaac, if I read your question right, I think you are asking about strategies to improve this.

      This too, is a large topic and I intentionally brushed over it in the post above.

      Think of it this way, if you have your pelvis in a poor position, let’s say anterior tilt for the sake of this discussion, and you just torque the leg into extension trying to improve this, you essentially are not addressing the alignment issue and just stressing the static stabilizers of the joint (i.e. the hip capsule).

      You may achieve more hip extension, but I wonder if you are doing this by sacrificing static stability of the anterior hip capsule, and potentially creating a bigger problem – an anterior tilted pelvis with ligamentous laxity anteriorly.

      The key is to first address the pelvic position, which is a large topic beyond the scope of today’s post… but to answer your question a little, I wouldn’t focus on as much stretching the joint in extension as I would on the soft tissue to allow, such as a psoas release vs. hip extension stretch.

      • Mike,

        Above you mention lengthening the back extensors. What is your preferred technique for this? Are you referring to the length gained by restoring a neutral pelvis or do you do specific forward bending stretches to lengthen the back extensors?

        Tim Holder MPT,OCS

  3. Good post Mike, if I may give you a plug? Readers with questions on how to maintain a neutral pelvis should check out Mike and Eric’s Functional Stability DVD. Really worth the time and money!

  4. Nice post Mike. I just bought The Janda Approach book and am really enjoying the content. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Special thanks for this article! Strengthening the surrouding muscles and re-balancing the hip into nutral position I come across on daily basis.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wednesday Good Reads: Edition 2 | LaVack Fitness - May 9, 2012

    [...] The Influence of Anterior Pelvic Tilt on Hip Flexion Mobility – Mike Reinold Why ‘Stability’ does NOT mean ‘rigidty” – Andreo Spina Throw Out the Rep Ranges: A Different Perspective – David Adamson Sluggish Metabolism or Thyroid Issues? Reach for the Fish Oil! – Jonny Bowden The 3 Quotes that have had a Profound Impact on My Life – Jonathan Goodman A Brief History of Periodization – Charles Poliquin Perform Well Despite Jet Lag: Use A Strategic Plan – Charles Poliquin Squat on Stable Surfaces to Gain Strength and Prevent Injury – Charles Poliquin The Science of Amazing Abs – Nick Tumminello Step Ups & RDLS Using the 747 Workout Method – Nick Tumminello Inside with Gray Cook: Episode 2 – Dry Needling – Gray Cook Treating Hamstring Cramps: Functional or Structural Approach – Phil Page Trunk Stability for Young Athletes – Mike Robertson NOV, Pilates and Fully Body Training…and Assistance Work – Jim Wendler Only the Strong Survive: Life to Live Longer – Nick Bromberg Ask the Diet Doctor: Should I Count Calories or Carbs – Mike Roussell 3 Keys to Developing Optimal Skating Technique – Kevin Neeld A Doctor’s Respond, To a Response From a Doctor – Bojan.K The ILCD – How a Doctor Dripped 5lbs in 1 Week – Bojan.K Success Principles with Scott Ginsberg – Perry Nickelston Built to Perfection – Ethan Hetzler The Slight Edge – Kyle Newell Stop Looking in the Mirror – Lift Big Eat Big Increase Intensity, Increase Results – John Romaniello It’s My Fault, Too – Tony Gentilcore Exercise Strengthens Bones…Even in Adults – Alex Hitchinson Tips to Make You More Comfortable in the Weight Room – Jen Comas-Keck 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Feel and Move Better: Installment 2 – Eric Cressey Younger Athletes Take Longer to Overcome Concussions – ScienceDaily The Power of Running – Alex Enberg Be Sociable, Share! Tweet /* [...]

  2. Working on Hip Flexion « Jason Sweas, PT, DPT - June 11, 2012

    [...] crossed syndrome and how standing in anterior pelvic tilt is essentially standing in hip flexion http://www.mikereinold.com/2012/05/the-influence-of-anterior-pelvic-tilt-on-hip-flexion-mobility.html.  I am 90% sure I do not stand in that much anterior tilt, but any athletic ready position is a [...]

  3. Wednesday Good Reads: Edition 2 - September 12, 2013

    […] Doctor’s Respond, To a Response From a Doctor – Bojan.K The Influence of Anterior Pelvic Tilt on Hip Flexion Mobility – Mike Reinold 5 things We Can Learn From Arnold – Bret Contreras and Brad Schoenfeld Treating Hamstring […]

Leave a Reply