Tight Hip Flexors and Quads Can Coincide with Anterior Pelvic Tilt
_ Most people have tight quads and many have tight hip flexors. If one or both of these muscles are shortened, anterior pelvic tilt will commonly occur. It is important to have proper length tension relationships between opposing muscle groups to attain adequate posture and function.
In anterior pelvic tilt, the legs will have tight quads and/or hip flexors and lengthened/weak hamstrings and glutes. In the trunk, lower back muscles (erector spinae) will be tight and abdominals (rectus abdominus) will be weak. This affects a wide range of the population due to the amount of time we spend sitting. Though there are many causes of lower back issues, excessive anterior pelvic tilt will often result in lower back problems.
Normal pelvic tilt for men is 3-5° and for women 5-7°. This angle is measured with one point being the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) and the other being the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). For an accurate assessment of pelvic tilt, please consult with a qualified health or fitness professional.
Safe and Effective Stretches
A standing quad stretch with your foot on a solid surface next to a wall is very effective and safe. The goal is to find a surface just below hip level. This will allow you to comfortably get into position without straining your supporting leg. A wall or any structure to aid balance is suggested for safety and effectiveness.
Remember to not arch your lower back and keep your back in a neutral position at all times during the stretch. Flexing your abdominals will help you keep proper back position if you have trouble maintaining tension in your quads.
_ Hip Flexors:
This convenient, simple, and safe version allows for adequate leverage on the hip if done correctly. Just like the quad stretch, be sure not to over arch your back. A posterior tilt will help with this stretch. To achieve a posterior pelvic tilt, flex your glutes and tuck your tailbone underneath you.
From the kneeling hip flexor stretch position: Bring the arm, on the side you are stretching, up and over your head. You will need to rotate your hips slightly towards the side you are stretching (opening the hips). Lastly, lean back slightly just enough to create added tension on the psoas. Be careful with this last step as to not over arch the back.
I recommend these stretches because they are effective, safe, and convenient. Also, you can hold these stretches for minutes at a time. Stretching for 3+ minutes is the only way to truly gain flexibility.
1) Kendall, McCreary, Provance, Rodgers, Romani. Muscles Testing and Function with Posture and Pain 5th ed. 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Baltimore, MD
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