How to Do a Pelvic Tilt Exercise: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a pelvic tilt exercise to help improve low back pain, plus modifications to make it easier or harder.

Published Date: Apr 28, 2023

Most people will experience back pain at some point in their life. While that may sound like bad news, it’s really not. Just because back pain is common doesn’t mean it’s inevitable or untreatable. There are a lot of ways you can manage back pain, whether it affects you when you run, sit at your desk, stand for a long time, or bend over to pick something up from the ground. 

Regardless of when or why your back acts up, back pain is very treatable, especially with gentle movement and targeted exercises and stretches. Read on to learn the benefits of a pelvic tilt exercise for back pain and how you can benefit from it. 

Our Hinge Health Experts

Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist and Clinical Reviewer
Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

What Is a Pelvic Tilt Exercise?

A pelvic tilt exercise involves tilting your pelvis forward and backward while lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. It’s designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back and core.

What Muscles Do Pelvic Tilts Work?

Pelvic tilts activate the core muscles, which are active in almost everything you do, including reaching overhead, squatting down to pick up a laundry basket, and even shifting your weight from one foot to the other. If your core lacks strength, you may notice instability and pain during everyday activities, particularly in your low back. 

Contrary to what many people think, the core isn’t just the “ab” muscles. Your core refers to the abdominal, spinal, pelvic floor, and diaphragm muscles. Pelvic tilt exercises benefit two areas of the core in particular: 

  • The multifidus, which is a part of the deep intrinsic back muscles. It helps you extend and rotate your spine. 

  • The transverse abdominis, which is the deepest of the abdominal muscles. It extends between the ribs and the pelvis, wrapping around the spine, to help with stability.

Strengthening these core muscles helps train your body to engage them during everyday movements so that the core takes on more responsibility when you’re moving. This helps alleviate low back pain and strain.

Pelvic Tilt Benefits

Everyone is different, which is why everyone has different ways of sitting, standing, and walking. Some people stand and move with their pelvis tilted slightly forward, which may contribute to pain and fatigue. Pelvic tilts help counteract that posture. They also stretch tight muscles in your lower back to help reduce back pain and build deep core strength to support your body with everyday tasks like squatting and lifting. 

Pelvic Tilt: Exercise and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Alternating Pelvic Tilt

Alternating Pelvic Tilt

Alternating Pelvic Tilt

Alternating Pelvic Tilt

An alternating pelvic tilt combines an anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt into one simple movement. To begin: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  

  • Arch your lower back away from the floor, focusing on relaxing your abdominal muscles and slowing your breathing as you do so. 

  • Return to the starting position to complete the anterior pelvic tilt portion of the exercise. 

  • Then, tighten your abdominal and glute muscles to flatten your lower back into the ground. You may feel your tailbone lift slightly. 

  • Focus on keeping your abdominal muscles engaged while you hold this posterior pelvic tilt position. 

  • Return to the starting position and let your glutes and abdominals fully relax before starting your next repetition.

You should be able to feel your hip, core, and pelvic floor muscles working with each repetition. And even though you won’t see changes in your muscular strength like you might when strengthening other muscles (such as your biceps), remember to trust the process and know you’re making progress.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify the pelvic tilt exercise to meet your needs.

Alternating Pelvic Tilt Modifications

Alternating Pelvic Tilt Modifications

Alternating Pelvic Tilt Modifications

Alternating Pelvic Tilt Modifications

To make the pelvic tilt easier:  

  • Place a rolled-up towel between the floor and your low back to add support.

  • Decrease your range of motion, or how much you arch your back away from the floor and how firmly you press your back into the floor.  

To make the pelvic tilt harder: 

  • As you flatten your low back against the floor, lift one foot off the ground so it hovers a few inches in the air.  

  • Try pelvic tilts from all fours (on your hands and knees). As you exhale, use your abdominal muscles to round your back (think of your muscles being pulled upward) and press firmly into the ground with your arms. 

You can apply one of the above modifications to make the stretch easier or harder, or multiple modifications at once. 

Learn More About Hinge Health for Back Pain Relief  

We’ve got a full team of clinical experts to help you move past your pain. Click here to see if you’re eligible to join our free digital clinic for back and joint pain.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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  1. Pelvic Tilt. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved from 

  2. Asher, A. (2022, October 26). Pelvic Tilts for Back Pain: A Simple Move With Important Benefits. VeryWell Health.