This Posture-Correcting Exercise Will Also Strengthen Your Core
Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction.
Correcting your posture can be, in a word, overwhelming. If you have poor posture, and have for a while, the idea of correcting years' worth of slouch can feel like taking on a project that you don't want to do but know you should (at least, that's how it feels to me).
There are plenty of places to start when it comes to improving your posture, but sometimes it's easier (on the mind and the body) to take it one step at a time. So on those days that no other posture-improving practices fit the bill, there's one movement that you should prioritize above the rest.
Introducing: the pelvic tilt.
WTF is a pelvic tilt, and why do I need it?
A pelvic tilt, in physical therapist terms, is an isolated motion of moving your pelvis on your lumbar spine (aka your lower back). It can be performed in multiple positions and is important for a number of reasons.
"By being able to do a pelvic tilt, you can teach yourself how to find your neutral spine position. Neutral spine position puts the lumbar spine in its ideal alignment to tolerate loads like gravity or picking something up," says Sarah Kostyukovsky, P.T., DPT, OCS.
Finding your neutral spine also allows you to engage your abdominal muscles because you have to be in correct alignment to engage your core in the first place. So in essence, neutral spine leads to proper alignment, which is needed for better posture.
How do you do a pelvic tilt?
- Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
- For the posterior pelvic tilt, tuck your pubic bone toward you. (Think about flattening your back to the floor).
- To shift to the anterior pelvic tilt, tuck your pubic bone down and increase the space between your lower back and the floor.
- Repeat the above, alternating between these two motions to improve your lower spinal mobility. You're teaching your spine to be neutral!
How often should you do a pelvic tilt?
Now that you've mastered the art of the basic pelvic tilt, you're probably asking "What's next?" No? Just me?
Once you learn how to do a pelvic tilt lying down, you can try it sitting, standing, or in tabletop position. Kostyukovsky has her patients perform a pelvic tilt 10 to 20 times a day in various positions but recommends that you give it a try and see how your body responds.
"If you're performing a pelvic tilt for improved posture, try checking in with yourself several times a day when sitting or standing. These are positions that you can do a pelvic tilt in—so doing one during the day will help you find your neutral spine position or ideal alignment!"
What are you waiting for? Your posture isn't going to fix itself.
Ray Bass is the associate movement and wellness editor at mindbodygreen and a NASM-Certified Personal Trainer. She holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Pennsylvania, with honors in nonfiction. A runner, yogi, boxer, and cycling devotee, Bass searches for the hardest workouts in New York (and the best ways to recover from them). She's debunked myths about protein, posture, and the plant-based diet, and has covered everything from the best yoga poses for chronic pain to the future of fitness, recovery, and America's obsession with the Whole30 diet.