Common Mistakes Doing the Posterior Pelvic Tilt Exercise

Ben Goldstein / Verywell

If you have low back pain, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist (PT) to help you decrease your pain, improve your spinal range of motion, and increase your abdominal and core strength. Your PT can assess your specific condition and teach you an exercise progression for your back to help you return to your previous level of function and mobility.

One very important exercise that your PT may teach you is the posterior pelvic tilt exercise. This exercise is the main component of a lumbar spine stabilization program, and your PT may spend a considerable amount of time in the clinic making sure you are doing it right.

Many people who perform the pelvic tilt exercise for back pain perform it incorrectly. They simply do not have the neuromuscular control of their abdominal and core muscles to perform the pelvic tilt properly.

Common Mistakes

Here are some common mistakes that you may make when performing the posterior pelvic tilt exercise for low back pain:

  • You are holding your breath.
  • Your are sticking out your stomach instead of tightening your abdominals.
  • Your are simply sucking in your gut instead of engaging your abdominals.
  • You are lifting your buttocks off the ground into a bridge position. 
  • You are rolling your pelvis in the wrong direction.

Tips

Here’s a little trick to learn how to feel the correct muscles that should be contracting during your posterior pelvic tilt. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Place both hands on the sides of your abdomen just above your pelvis. Slowly blow out all of your breath, like you are trying to blow out a candle as slowly as possible. 

As you start to run out of air, keep blowing, and you should start to feel tightening of your transverse abdominus muscle. This muscle is one of your deep abdominal muscles that is responsible for bracing your spine when you are moving about.

If you have low back pain, your PT can teach you the proper exercises to do for your specific condition. They can also teach you how to attain and maintain proper posture for your back.

If your PT prescribes the posterior pelvic tilt exercise as part of your neutral spine core exercise program, working to perform the exercise properly is essential. By exercising properly for your back, you can be sure to quickly and safely return to your previous level of function and activity.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shipton EA. Physical therapy approaches in the treatment of low back pain. Pain Therapy. 2018;7(2):127-137. doi. 10.1007/s40122-018-0105-x.

  2. Physiopedia. Exercises for Instability.

  3. ScienceDirect. Posterior Pelvic Tilt.

  4. Spine Universe. Strengthen This Core Muscle to Help Your Back Pain.

By Brett Sears, PT
Brett Sears, PT, MDT, is a physical therapist with over 20 years of experience in orthopedic and hospital-based therapy.