How to fix sway back posture

What to expect in this post:


 

sway back posture
Image from FixTheNeck


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// What is Sway back posture?

It is a type of posture. Unfortunately, it’s one of the bad postures that some people have…

To completely understand why the sway back posture is considered a bad posture, one must first know what a good posture looks like. Check out the post: Ideal sitting posture to know exactly what good posture is.

Do you suffer from a Sway back postureI hope not… But if you do, please let me help you!

The sway back posture is where the pelvis is pushed in front of the centre of gravity. This causes a chain reaction in the posture as the body attempts to compensate for the shift in alignment.

 

// What are the characteristics of Sway back posture?

  • Pelvis pushed forwards in front of centre of gravity (see above)
  • Posteriorly rotated/neutral pelvis
  • Flat lower lumbar lordosis
  • Hyper extension of thoracolumbar junction (long kyphotic curve)
  • Hyper extension of hip
  • Hyper extension of knees
  • Neutral ankle
  • Head poked forward (*compensatory adaptation)
  • Upper back curved forward/sunken chest (*compensatory adaptation)
  • Shoulders protracted (*compensatory adaptation)
  • Tight upper abdominal

 *compensatory adaptation: These changes in posture are usually a direct result of the body attempting to compensate for the forward position of the pelvis.

 

// What are the causes of Sway back posture?

a) Over-active/tight hamstrings:

Tight and/or over-active hamstrings drive the pelvis forwards in sway back posture. This hamstring dominance can be as a result of genetic factors, lack of stretching, poor gluteal muscle group function, sitting posture… the list goes on.

The good news is that we can do exercises to reverse this!

b) Ligament laxity:

Whether you are born with it, or you are someone who has excessively stretched themselves, ligament laxity can cause sway back posture. Since the stability of the joints has been compromised, sway back posture occurs as it allows the weight of your body to rest on the excessive curves of the spine.

Unfortunately – there is nothing we can do to reverse the “looseness” of the ligaments. The only option is to improve the strength and control of the muscles which support the spine. (which we will be going through)

c) Incorrect strategy for good posture:

For some reason, your brain has learnt to hold you in a Sway back posture. This could be attributed to bad habits such as sleeping on your stomach and poor posture in sitting.

 

// How to determine if you have Sway back posture

1. Take a side profile shot of your standing posture

Make sure that:

  • your clothing attire allows clear vision of your body
  • the photo is taken at hip level
  • the head to the feet are completely visible

2. Locate your land marks

sway back posture

 

Greater trochanter: Place your palm on the side of your hip. Feel for a bony prominence that sticks out.

Lateral malleolus: You know that bony bit that sticks out at the outside of your ankle? That’s the one we want.

Humeral head: This is the top of your shoulder bone.

3. Compare the alignment of these 3 landmarks

In the ideal posture, you should be able to draw a  straight line between the 3 points of greater trochanter, humeral head and lateral malleolus.

With your picture, draw vertical lines through the midpoints of the land marks. If they all line up, great! You don’t have sway back posture.

If you have Sway back posture: the line of the greater trochanter will be in front of the other 2 points.

Is your pelvis in the correct position?

 

// Don’t confuse Sway back posture with anterior pelvic tilt

 

aptvsswayback

 

It is common for people to get confused between having a Sway back posture versus having an anterior pelvic tilt. Both postures will have a sway back component where the lower back has a pronounced arch.

The main difference being that with the sway back posture, the centre of the hips are in front of the line of gravity. With anterior pelvic tilt, the hips are generally stacked over the ankles.

It is important to know the difference between these postures as their respective treatments and exercises are different! Doing the right exercise for the wrong diagnosis will not help you.

Want to know more about anterior pelvic tilt? Check the post: How to fix an anterior pelvic tilt to find out more.

 

// What’s happening with your muscles in sway back posture?

Overactive/tight hamstring drives the hips forward causing:

  • elongated and weak hip flexors
  • end of range hip extension in standing
  • weak gluteal muscles
  • anterior translation of femoral head
  • elongated/weak external oblique
  • short internal oblique –> pulls lower ribs forward
  • over-active muscles in thethoraco-lumbar junction
  • upper cross syndrome

// Common injuries associated with the Sway back posture

  • Hip: Arthritis, impingement, labral tears, bursitis, hip flexor tendinopathy, hamstring strains
  • Lower back: Muscular tension, facet joint degeneration, disc bulges
  • Shoulder: Impingement, bursitis, tears
  • Neck: Headaches, muscular tension, degneration

If you suffer from any of the above issues and have tried everything to try to get it better, your Sway back posture may be the leading cause! The sway back posture will  place your body in sub-optimal positions which will cause excessive stress through the structures. Fix your posture, fix your pain!

 

// Do not:

a) DO NOT stretch the hip flexors

xhipflexor stretch

In the sway back posture, the hip flexor muscle group (psoas, iliacus) is already in a lengthened position. Stretching will further elongate your already stretched out hip flexors and thus drive the issue further.

b) DO NOT sleep on the stomach

xsleep

Sleeping on your stomach will encourage the Sway back posture. How? Have a look at the picture above. You will see that the curve of the spine is exactly the same as Sway back posture. That means the same muscles that hold the sway back posture will continue to drive this posture.

c) DO NOT sit with bad posture

This one is pretty straight forward. No one should be sitting with bad posture. Your prolonged sitting posture may be the cause!

d) DO NOT stand like this

xarmcross

This position is something I see it a lot of bystanders standing around. The arms crossed, hips thrusted forward and he classic pronounced middle back arch.

e) DO NOT do abdominal crunches

xabcrunch

Abdominal crunches may give you nice 6 pac abs, but it will also increase the dominance of rectus abdominus which will increase the hunch of the upper back which is seen in the sway back posture.


The solution: The best exercises to fix your Sway back posture

Goals of these exercises:

1. Release hamstrings

2. Strengthen hip flexors

3. Strengthen gluteal group

4. Strengthen external obliques/decrease rectus abdominis dominance

5. Address upper cross syndrome (compensatory postural changes)

6. Re-train proper posture in functional positions (Neuro-muscular control)


 

1. Hamstring

Aim: To decrease the over-activity/tightness of the hamstring muscle.

a) Ball release

hamstring release

Instructions:

  1. Get a ball. You can use a massage ball, tennis ball, lacrosse ball etc. Take your pick.
  2. Starting from the top of your hamstrings in the buttock region, position your body over the ball of your choice.
  3. Use your body weight to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to the hamstring muscle.
  4. Gradually work your way down to the back of your knee.

Time: 2 minutes per leg.

 

b) Stretch

hamstring stretches

Instructions:

  1. Whilst upright, place one leg straight in front of you.
  2. Hinging forwards at the hip joint (and keeping the back straight), bend towards the leg at front.
  3. Ensure that you can feel the stretch of the lower hamstrings.
  4. Repeat on both sides.
  5. To stretch upper hamstring, repeat the previous steps with a slightly bent knee in front instead of a straight leg.

Time: Hold for 60 seconds each. Repeat 2-3 times per leg.

 

2. Hip flexor group (iliopsoas)

Aim: To increase the strength of the hip flexor muscle group.

DO NOT stretch your hip flexors!… we want to strengthen this muscle group. Stretching the hip flexors will make the sway back posture worse as they are already excessively elongated!

a) Sitting hip flexion (on the chair)

sitting hip flexion

 

Instructions:

  1. Sit up right on the edge of a chair.
  2. Lift knee as high as possible.
  3. Hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Alternate lifting knees.
  5. Repeat 10 times.

Time: 2 minutes in total.

b) Sitting hip flexion (on the floor)

long sit hip flexion

Instructions:

  1. Long sit on the floor with the support of your hands behind you.
  2. Keeping your leg straight, lift your leg
  3. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Time: 2 minutes

Note: Make sure your back and pelvis stay in the neutral position whilst performing this exercise. The pelvis should not rotate.

c) Jack knife with exercise ball

jacknife ball

Instructions:

  1. Assume a push up position with your feet on an exercise  ball
  2. Brace your abdominal muscles.
  3. Bring your knees towards the chest.
  4. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 15 times.

Time: 2 minutes

Note: Make sure your back arch does not collapse whilst in the push up position. This can make sway back posture worse. Keep your core braced at all times.

 

3. Gluteal group (aka the “butt muscles”)

Aim: To increase the strength and recruitment of the gluteal muscle group.

a) Hip extension

hip ext

Instruction:

  • Whilst standing upright, extend your leg backwards until you feel your gluteals contract firmly.
  • Do not rotate your body.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Alternate legs for 20 repetitions each.

Note: Maintain your upright posture. You should not lean forward when doing this exercise. Hold onto a support (eg. back of a chair) if you have issues with maintaining your balance.

b) Bridge

Bridge start positionbridge end position

Instructions:

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent.
  • Flatten your lower back to the ground.
  • By pushing off with your heels, lift your buttocks off the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 15 times.

// Want to know the best exercises for your gluteal muscles? Check out this post: Is sitting destroying your butt muscles? to see the complete list of gluteal strengthening exercises (+ progressions).

4. External obliques

Aim:

  • Increase strength/Decreased length of external obliques.
  • Increase length of internal obliques.
  • Decrease dominance of rectus abdominis

a) Side plank

side planks

Instructions:

  1. Assume position as above. (either on knees or feet depending on level of ability)
  2. Contract the muscles on the side of your abdomen to prevent that side for sinking down
  3. Keep your shoulders, hips and knee/ankle in line with each other,
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on other side.

 

 

b) Plank with side bend

plank with side bend

Instructions:

  1. Assume the plank position (see above)
  2. Brace your core muscles to maintain good alignment.
  3. Proceed to bring knee to elbow of the same side.
  4. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders. (…Don’t let those hips drop!)
  5. Hold for 5 seconds.
  6. Alternate sides for 10 repetitions.

c) Single arm weight

Instructions:

  1. Hold onto a weight with one hand. (as if you were carrying a suit case)
  2. Proceed to walk without letting the weight pull you down to the side that you are carrying it on.
  3. Sustain for 1 minute.
  4. Keep your hips stacked on top of your ankles.
  5. Progression: Increase the weight. Alternatively, you can hold the weight next to your shoulder.

5. Thoracolumbar junction

Aim: To release the muscles of the thoracolumbar junction.

a) Ball release

Ball QL

Instructions:

  1. Place the muscles of the lower to mid back on top of a massage ball.
  2. Use your body weight to apply pressure to the area.
  3. You may need to adjust your positioning over the ball to target the right area.

Time: 2 minutes

6. Addressing upper cross syndrome

As I have covered this a multitude times in several posts on the Posturedirect.com blog, I will link to the appropriate posts to bring you up to speed.

Stretches/Releases

  • Anterior chest/shoulder, intercostals
  • Sub-occipital/Upper cervical posterior
  • Sternocleidomastoid/Scalene
  • Upper abdominals
  • Thoracic joints
  • Fascia of the upper limb
  • Latissimus dorsi

Strengthening

  • Cx DNF/Retractors
  • Scapula stability (rhomboid/lower trap/SA)

7. Functional training

This section is the most important part of the post. If you do all the above exercises, but fail to do this, your sway back posture will not get better.

Functional training is all about using the right muscles at the right time, to sustain the correct posture, in your daily activities. It’s connecting the brain, the nervous system and your muscles together to produced a desired result.

a) Learn how to stand properly

Now that your tight muscles have been released and your weak muscles strengthened, this is where the magic happens.

1. Stack pelvis on top of the ankles by bending forwards at the hip.

bow

In sway back posture, the hips are driven too far forward.

The greater trochanter and lateral malleolus should be in the same line. (Click here if you forget what these are)

2. Return hips and lower back to neutral

Using your gluteal and lower back muscles, bring the upper body in line with the rest of the body.

3. Re-position shoulders

shoulde reposition

Gently roll your shoulders back and down.

4. Elongate/retract neck

chintuck

 

This will prevent your neck from poking forward.

 

How do you feel in this new position?

Yes, it will feel weird. But just remember – you have most likely been standing with your sway back posture for many years and any change to the norm is going to feel different.

Practice this throughout the day. When you’re waiting in line at the supermarket, brushing your teeth, cooking at home etc. Try to incorporate this posture throughout your day to day activities.

 

b) Learn how to Sit-to-Stand properly

Bend forwards at the hip before standing up from a chair. A simple cut to remember is “nose over toes”.

As you sit down,  bend forwards at the hips before descending. Remember the cue – “stick your bum out”

People with sway back posture tend to avoid bending forwards.


Wow! This post was 2348 words long!

I hope that it will help you. If you know of someone who has this posture, please forward them this post.

 


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What to do next…

1. Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below.

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!


About

I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

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118 thoughts on “How to fix sway back posture

    1. Hi Christina. It’s true that it gets harder to change the longer you have had it, but it’s never too late to take action!

      Try out these exercises on the post. It takes time. But persist!
      Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

      Mark

  1. I have always had bad posture and sway back for the past few years. As a result I have been living with frequent lower back pain for years and hip pain over the past several weeks. After trying these stretches and exercises for the first time, my back pain has eased substantially and my hip pain is gone. I am amazed!

  2. Hey man! Awesome post, extremely informative… Can swayback be caused soley because of tight, inflexible hamstrings? I’ve got swayback and my symptoms seem to drastically improve with stretching of upper hamstrings and don’t really think Muscle weakness is the root cause. Years of playing volleyball at a high level with very minimal stretching might have been the recipe here, again very good post!

    1. Hey Kyle,
      Tight hamstrings can definitely be the root cause of your sway back posture. (Esp. if you have played a sport for many years like volleyball)
      Thanks for the comment, mate!

  3. Hey mark,
    Thanks for the post. First time I’ve seen most of my symptoms combined into one overarching issue. And that’s after going to 2 physical therapists.

    I have neck and thoracic pain but my worst symptom is headaches. They are the worst when I workout or play basketball.

    Do you recommend anything specific for headache relief? Icing my upper trapezius helps afterwards but I’d like to treat the cause.

    Thanks,
    Scott

    1. Hey Scott,

      If you have sway back posture, then you probably have a degree of Forward Head Posture. This has been the cause of headaches in many of my patients.

      Check out this post: http://www.posturedirect.com/forward-head-posture-correction/

      When your head is poked forward, it makes all the muscles around your neck and shoulder region work very hard (esp. when playing a sport like basketball or working out). When muscles work too hard over a long period of time, they can start to cause pain, or present as headaches.

      Hope this helps

  4. Hey Mark,
    Thanks for the article. This is the clearest outline of all the symptoms I have, and I’ve been to two different therapists.

    My main issue besides back and spine discomfort is headaches. I get them whenever I exercise or after a long day of work. Icing my upper trapezius muscle helps but I wish I could get to the root of the problem. Do you know of anything I could do specifically to reduce headaches?

    Thanks again,
    Scott

  5. Hello Mark,
    When i stretch my lower hamstring and upper hamstring i do not feel hamstring but only feel calf and this place marked on green (http://i.imgur.com/ItZYA0e.png)
    second problem is when i strenghten my hips i feel no hips but quadriceps femoris and Tensor fasciae latae. Its a normal? Sorry for my english 🙂
    Krystian.

    1. Hello Krystian,

      With the hamstring stretches, make sure you tilt your pelvis forward (“stick your butt out”). This should emphasis the hamstring stretch.

      If you feel the stretch behind the knee only, it may mean that you are stretching your hamstring TENDON, which is good! You may just be tighter in your tendon rather than your muscle in your hamstring.

      With hip exercises, try these exercises: http://www.posturedirect.com/is-sitting-destroying-your-butt-muscles/

  6. This guide looks fantastic! I’m self concious about my posture and its long term effects so I’m going to start incorporating these exercises into my daily routine, as they look really nice and simple to do.

  7. Thanks for this post!!!! I’ve had swayback forever because of hypermobile joints, nice to be correcting it now. With this posture, is it common for one side to be stronger? My barbell squats are asymmetrical, as I rise from the bottom of the movement, my right glute rises first and sways to the right. My left glute always lags behind. How can I correct this? I can’t ‘feel’ this happening, so it’s really hard to correct this as I do the squat. I also have lower back pain on my right side, but that has gotten better due to weightlifting and this post.

    1. Hi Emily,

      Cheers for the comment!

      There are multiple reasons why you might shift to the right side in a squat. (Tight right groin, Right leg dominance, Weak Left glute muscle, Tight Left glute, Poor mobility in your left ankle… just to name a few).

      I would have to observe how you squat to determine what might be causing it.

      I am happy to have a look at a video you squatting if you would like an assessment.

      Mark

    1. Hi Rafal,

      You can do the piriformis stretch with any posture, especially if you have tight/overactive glute muscles. If you tend to walk with your feet facing outwards (duck walking), then you might have tight glutes.

    1. Hi Rafal,

      It is fine to do the McKenzie Press up (especially if you have lower back disc bulges), but I wouldn’t do it excessively or have it as your main exercise if you have a sway back posture.

  8. Hello Mark, thanks for this website, its extremely helpful!

    I had some injuries on my legs, and it caused me to be sit most of the time for 8 months. I didn’t know I was sitting in a very bad posture. Now I have sway back because of that.

    I’m already fixing it thanks to you! But I wonder, could 8 months of very bad posture cause some irreverisble changes on the bone structure?

    1. Hi Hugo,

      The longer you have had bad posture, then the longer it is going to take to fix it. As long there is no structural damage (like arthritis, disc bulges, fusion etc), I find that there is always something that you can improve on.

      Keep up the good work and let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Hello Mark, this is a great guide!

    I am 22, but when I was 10-12 I started to develop pectus excavatum. Eventually the condition got so severe that it is now clearly visible from the side, even when wearing a t-shirt, and I believe that it significantly affects my sports performances (e.g. I can’t do a 200m sprint without feeling very nauseated afterwards. The same applies to playing basketball or football (soccer) for 15 minutes. And those are stories from when I had actually been sporting competitively (playing badminton) for years, so it’s not like I was a couch potato, but I could just never improve my physical endurance, no matter how much I sported).

    Now I am not sure, but I believe that this condition may have caused my hunchback posture (and forward head posture and forward shoulders, etc.). I don’t appear to have anterior pelvic tilt (or maybe very slightly), but now I was wondering if it is also possible to completely fix the swayback posture even if you have a pectus excavatum.

    I don’t know if it’s useful information for you, but I also do have those hamsting issues and the other stuff that comes along with a swayback posture. E.g.: my hand palms can barely get past my knees when correctly bending forward with stretched legs.

    Also, other than issues with maybe endurance, does a pectus excavatum affect your centre of gravity in a way which negatively affects any strength-training/weight-lifting routine?

    Hope to hear from you soon and thank you for writing this!

    1. Hi there Jamie,

      Any deviation in your rib cage alignment can definitely affect your centre of gravity. This in turn can make your body inefficient in movement which may lead to problems like premature fatigue as you stated. Depending on the severity of your pectus excavatum, it can even affect how efficiently your lungs can function.

      Since pectus excavatum is a structural issue, there is nothing you can do to change that, however, in regards to fixing your sway back posture, it can definitely be improved with the exercises.

      It can also affect your lifting routine such as imbalances, asymetrical loads on posture, uneven growth of musculature, tightness of chest muscles. etc All of which can be addressed with a specific training program.

      Hope this helps you Jamie!

      1. Hey Mark,

        Thank you for getting back to me. Good to know that my pectus excavatum doesn’t make it impossible to fix my posture. I still have one question about the exercise programme, though.

        Is there perhaps an alternative for the exercise “Jack knife with exercise ball” or is that exercise ball really necessary?

        Hope to hear from you soon!

        1. Hi Jamie!

          No – the Jack Knife exercise does not have to be conducted. I like it because it incorporates both your deep core muscles and hip flexor muscles together.

          Is there a reason why you don’t want to do it?

          Mark

          Mark

          1. Sorry for the very late reply, I’ve been quite busy with university. The simple reason for not doing that exercise is because I don’t have a ball, that’s all. So nothing to worry about.

            I do have another question, though: What exactly are the ball release exercises for? For example, for the hamstring, is that purely for massaging, loosening the muscles?

            Kind regards,
            Jamie

          2. Hi there Jamie,

            Ball releases help loosen up the tight muscle.

            I suggest doing the ball releases before you do the stretches.

            Mark

  10. What a great post! I’ve had sway back for as long as I can remember (I’m 26 now) and I never gave it much thought until it started causing me problems a couple years ago. You pretty much covered all of the issues I’ve been having, but I have one major deviation from your description: my pelvis tilts forward, not back (like I’m sticking my butt out) and it doesn’t shift forward, it just rotates forward in place. Have you seen this variation of sway back and do you have any alternate recommendations? Thanks!

  11. Hi Mark, is it possible to have an anterior pelvic tilt combined with a sway back posture? I mean that the backside of the hip is (significantly) higher than the frontside of the hip, as wéll as the hip is in front of the ankles and shoulderbone. My feet are also pointing outwards.

    If so, what would be the best course of action? I’m anxious to start training because swayback and anterior pelvic tilt diagnoses and excercises seem quite contradictory.

    Great website by the way, keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Justin,

      It is definitely possible to have both sway back posture with an anterior pelvic tilt. However, note also that you may just have pointy bits at the back of your pelvis which may naturally appear to sit higher than the front due to the shape of it.

      If you have both, correcting sway back posture takes priority over an anterior pelvic tilt. Focus on getting your hips aligned over your ankles by strengthening/engaging hip flexors (iliopsoas muscle).

      Let me know how it goes, mate!

  12. This is the best post I have seen on the internet on sway back posture! And trust me, I have searched everywhere,
    Thanks mark!

  13. Hey Mark, Great Post!
    I have this bad posture and have started doing this exercises but my question is what time of the day should we do this? Morning adter waking up, before bed or afterworkout.

    Also before doing this exerciss do we warm up or anything you recommend?

  14. I have swayback /lardosis had it for as long as I can remember, im now 45. Even as a 16 year old my stomach was sticking out and it look like I had a big stomach. I found a book when I was about 25 in the library on the Alexander technique, but I never followed up on it. I think its too late for me. too much work and behavior to keep track of and continuously do exercises.

    I read somewhere that putting babies /young kids to sleep on their stomach causes it.
    I was a stomach sleeper, up until about 9 years ago.

    Also it threw up my body out of whack and my clothes don’t look proper when I wear them. jeans are always tighter at the thighs, and one of my shoulder is higher than the other.

  15. Hi Mark,

    your post is fantastic. I fully match all the features of a sway back position…I started to follow your program and had great relief from my patellar hypertension syndrome which caused me a lot of pain after running or cycling sometimes. I believe that my PHS is due to my bad posture: you think that the sway back position can also affect the knee?

    Many thanks,
    Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      You bet Sway back posture can definitely affect your knee issue.

      Your body works its best when everything is in optimal alignment. It very hard for knee to be moving properly if your pelvis isn’t.

      Mark

  16. Hi Mark,

    I emailed you as well! My hubby needs some help with a full workout plan that takes into consideration his swayback/forward head and duck foot postural problems! Can you help?

    Nicole

  17. I am 49 and have lots of knee, back, neck issues probably caused by sway back posture.

    A few months ago I tried to be persistent with sitting and standing correctly throughout the day, and I was also laying on my back on the floor & doing leg lifts every day, too. I did this every day for a month, but my back/neck pain became worse and worse. I finally gave up & went back to slouching, and my back pain improved.

    Am I a lost cause? Am I just too old & messed up to fix this? I’m so tired of my ugly posture and I’m worried that it is causing longer term issues, but now I don’t know if I should even try to fix it.

    Please help!

    1. Hi Emily,

      It’s never too late to make improvements in your posture!

      Here are some possible reasons why your symptoms may be aggravated whilst doing the exercises.

      1. You may not have sway back posture. Doing sway back posture correction exercises for someone who does not have it can make symptoms worse.
      2. Incorrect exercise technique. Doing the right exercise the wrong way can also make things worse!
      3. The amount/intensity of exercises that you are doing may not be appropriate for your current level of tolerance. You might need to modify some exercises so that you can do it more effectively/comfortably to suit your current capacity.
      4. It takes time. It can get worse before it gets much better.
      5. Combination of everything.

      Please let me know how it goes. I’m here to help! 🙂

  18. Thank you for this generous information sharing. I’m hoping that this might be able to help me.
    Thanks again!
    Sandy

  19. Hi mark, I am 19 male and I have swayback too, I did too many forward lunges which caused my swayback posture. I’ve been doing these excercises and wanna ask you that my ribs and my pelvis are not aligned My lower ribs are falling forward. Please suggest excercises for bringing ribs backward.

      1. Thanks for replying Mark, as the article says ligament laxity irreversible, I am worried as I have done forward lunches in the past sometimes holding one stretch for 1 min also. I wanna ask If I may have overstretched my ligaments? And I wanna ask if I can do these excercises and squat as well without weights to engage glutes more will that be okay?

  20. Hi Mark,

    Thank you so much for writing this great guide. I have searched online for fixing swat back for a long time but most of the articles I find focus on lordosis. Your article is very helpful.

    I am 26, have sway back, however, my trunk tend to tilt to the right side. My right lower back is way stronger than the left one. So I am wondering for the side plank and single arm weight, is it appropriate that I strengthen the left side for a while and stretch the right side, and then I will start to do these exercise for both sides? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Liya,

      What a great question.

      Here are some tips for you specifically to address your tilt.
      1. Stretch the right side (Google: stretches for Quadratus lumborum and Psoas)
      2. Strengthen the left side (Side planks with variations)
      3. When sitting, make sure you are not leaning on one side more.
      4. Sleep on your right side.
      5. When standing, do not favour one leg. Stand evenly.

      You are exactly right with regards to doing one side first. When you are even, then you can do both sides.

      Hope this helps.

      Mark.

  21. Hi Mark.
    I am male, 26, and I have over pronation of the feet and inward knee rotation. Please suggest me some stretches or excercises to correct it.
    Thanks.

  22. Hey Mark,
    Thanks for writing this article and the one for forward head as well. Very informative and easy to understand but I am a little bit confused as I work at a desk 8-12 hours daily on a computer and somehow ended up with pelvis dragging forward, I also came to know that I have a very weak core. I’ve started doing the excercises mentioned above but I am also doing core strengthening excercises which mostly include strengthening the abdominals and as you’ve warned in your article not to strengthen abdominals it is making me wonder what to do?

    1. Hi Joe,

      Good question!

      Try not to get confused “core exercises” with “abdominal exercises.

      Your core muscles are the deep muscles that wrap around your mid section.

      Your abdominal muscles are the superficial muscles (essentially your 6 pac muscles.)

      So it is possible to do core strengthening without exercising your abdominal (6 pack) muscles.

      Hope this clarifies things!

      Mark

      1. Thanks for answering, Mark.
        I also have a very soft and spongy feeling in my mid back probably 2-3 inches above lower back right in the middle of the spine. Any idea what this could be?
        Thank you very much.

  23. No not all, but it feels very soft and it is on the inside of spine, it does not feel like a piece of extra meat or tumour or anything, there is no visible presentation of it on my back. It feels like a muscle that you were never aware of before but after you read about it you can feel it. That’s how it is. And I feel it sometimes for a few hours like in a week or two I think mostly after squatting.

    1. Hi Joe,

      I’m not too sure what else it could be without seeing you. It’s likely some sort of extension of your soft tissue in the area.

      You might need to get it checked out by your local health practitioner just to make sure it isn’t anything serious.

  24. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this great post. As I proceed, I want to make sure I’m doing the right things with my hip flexors. I’m not sure if I’m:

    a.) Both kyphotic and lordotic. In addition to the curvature in my upper back and my pelvis shifting forward, I also have: internal rotation of femurs, a bit of a “false curvature” shape to my legs, and a pouch like shape of a protruding stomach. In my limited research, these traits are often associated with anterior pelvic tilt. I also have tightness/discomfort in my levator ani region when sitting for what it’s worth.

    or

    b.) Standard sway back, as described in your post. Maybe the other symptoms I described are common in sway back without lordosis, or a result of the higher-up concavity in the mid-back region that people with sway back have. I’m not sure.

    Some sites suggest stretching/lengthening/relaxing the hip flexors (esp. the psoas) for kyphotic-lordotic people, and I just wanted to get your take. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the question!

      By the way you are describing your situation, I feel that you may have both Sway back posture AND an anterior pelvic tilt.

      Fixing, the sway back posture, however, should take priority over the anterior pelvic tilt.

      Stretch/Release the rectus femoris and tensor fascia lata muscles. (both hip flexors), but strengthen your Psoas (also a hip flexor, but more of a stabilising muscles more than anything).

      Hope this answers your question, Frank!

      Mark

      1. Thanks for the response! How often should we be doing the above routine? Curious to know if the iliopsoas, glute, and oblique exercises warrant recovery time. I’ve been doing 2 days on, 1 day off…but can probably do everyday if time permits.

        1. Hi Frank,

          Try to do the exercises as often as you can, provided that your body has recovered from the previous session.

          As your body becomes familiar with the exercises, your muscles should recover quicker as well!

          Mark

  25. Hey mark, I dont have swayback or anterior pelvic tilt but still I do have a bigger lower back curve than normal maybe due to tight lower back muscles. Can you please suggest some lower back stretches?

  26. Hi Mark,

    My son, who is very active, has been demonstrating poor posture. I’ve noticed that when he takes off running he sometimes stumbles as if he is going to fall forward.

    Even after reading your whole article, I’m having trouble diagnosing him. At first, I was thinking sway-back posture but now I’m thinking he has APT with a rounded back (head forward) posture. Is this possible? He is asking for some exercises/stretches to do and I don’t want to steer him wrong.

    Thanks,

    Josh

    1. Hi Adam,

      Looks like it is more of a sway back posture with a very slight anterior pelvic tilt.

      The thing that stands out to me the most is your Posterior Rib tilt (where the lower ribs are pushed forward).

      Try to do this exercise:
      s

      The main aim is to keep your whole back FLAT against the wall. If this is too difficult, place your hands down and repeat. Do not let your ribs flare up.

      Mark

      1. Hi Mark,

        first i’d like to thank you for your interest.

        i’m 23 years old… so will exercises help me ?
        i’m ready to do exercises for one or two years but at last i’d like to have a normal posture

  27. Hello , after going through your site i think i have sway back with round shoulders but in one image which you said dont stand like hand folding in front of you at mid chest region my pelvis shift towards left side ( x ray of my lumbar spine showed little curve ) am i having lateral pevic shift also.
    Right side of shoulder back and upper traps are very tight after i stand in a upright position

  28. Hello Mark,

    My 7 year old son seems to have both swayback and lots of pronation and flat feet.

    Can I send you the photos to get your opinion on what to begin with first? Where could I send them?

    Thanks for your advice.

    Kristina

  29. Hi Mark thank you for your comprehensive post. What is your take on using posture braces to fix sway back posture? I am including a link on posture correction tips for reference

  30. Hey Mark,

    I have been sleeping on my stomach for my whole life, if I can’t sleep on my stomach, what position do you recommend? I also read on your rounded shoulders section, which I may have, that it’s not advisable to sleep on my side either. So I guess by default that leaves me to sleep on my back.

    Also is the floor still recommended over bed? Over time will I be able to sleep comfortably in that position for 6 – 8 hours? Because I’ve tried falling asleep for that long but I’m currently unable to.

    Thank you for sharing this vast amount of information!

    1. Hey there Pree,

      The general rule is to sleep on as firm mattress as you comfortably can.

      However, sleeping on the floor may be too big of a jump from your mattress.

      Try to do small changes over a longer period of time to allow your body to adapt and get used to the new positions.

      Mark

      1. Hey Mark,

        Obviously there is a lot to work on with improving posture. What incorrect posture should I focus on first. Because obviously I’m sure a lot of people have Sway Back or Anterior Pelvic Tilt, Upper Cross Syndrome or a combination along with improper sitting and sleeping habits. It’s not feasible to spend 3 hours everyday doing these exercises and keeping everything in mind, so what you suggest first. I’m addressing my Sway Back and my Forward Head Posture first, while paying attention to my posture whilst sitting and walking. After that should I focus on Rounded Shoulders? Or where do you recommend I start?

        1. Hi Pree!

          I definitely know where you’re coming from.

          You can go about it in many different ways. (And there is no right or wrong way really)

          I would suggest you start with your pelvis.

          This is your foundation. Everything will be based on where the pelvis is.

          However – if you also suffer with pain, it might be an idea to start with the area where it hurts the most to give you a bit of relief.

          Whatever you choose, stick to it, do it well, be consistent and you’ll see good results 🙂

          Mark

  31. Hello Mark! This post makes so much sense. I always though I had APT but I have literally every single thing you described here.

    I’m going to PT now for a shoulder injury but I was wondering if you had any idea for how often to do all of this? Is this a daily routine, or every other day, or what?

    Also, do you have a sub for side planks? I cannot put weight on my shoulders at that angle right now.

    1. Hi Mikaela

      Try to do it everyday (if your body allows it). More the merrier.

      If your shoulder hurts, don’t worry about doing them for the time being. Focus on the dead bug exercises.

      Mark

    1. Hi Cam,

      If you have both a sway back and anterior pelvic tilt, the priority would be to correct the sway back posture first.

      It is important to get the hip joints directly over the ankle joints.

      If then, you still have an anterior pelvic tilt, you can start to do the ATP exercises.

      Hope this answers your question.

      Mark

      1. Hi Mark,

        I’ve been performing these exercises for a little while now, and they have been working, but something I’ve come to notice is that my knees have began to hurt which is probably the result of my body adjusting to the new position of my hips stacked over my knees themselves. Is there anything I can do to alleviate this?

        1. Hi Cam,

          Very normal response. Your knees are trying to get used to new posture.

          There are heaps of things you can do for knee pain. But that really depends on what exactly is hurting.

          Are you doing any form of exercise/sport that may be aggravating it?

          Mark

  32. I’ve started to notice that my lower back pain when I’m standing for long periods of time, and now that I’ve read this article I’m guessing that’s because my center of gravity is not centered. These exercises look like they would help me strengthen my back muscles! I’m trying to be better about standing up straight, and I bet seeing a physiotherapist would also be really helpful with that.

  33. does holding the stomach in for the whole day help this situation? because it helps the pelvic to go backward a little.
    Generally, is it good to hold the stomach in for the whole day, and does it do any good for body posture?

    1. Hey there,

      Initially, you might need to consciously hold your core to get an idea of what good posture feels like.

      But the end goal is for your core muscles to engage automatically and appropriately without you having to think about it.

      Mark

  34. Mark,

    Thank you for taking the time to share this information. I’m however confused. I think you have shown the posture of “kyphosis” as opposed to “Lordosis”. Would your recommendations be the same for both forms of swayback?

    Thanks kindly,

    Trip

    1. Hey there,

      There can be (and often is) kyphosis associated with a sway back posture. And that’s the same with anterior pelvic tilt (or hyper lordosis).

      Both are treated differently.

      Check the post on Anterior Pelvic tilt to see the exercises for that.

      Mark

  35. Thank you sooooo much for these helpful hints! I’ve been in pain on and off for months dealing with sway back. I felt almost immediate relief doing some of these techniques. Do you have an suggestions on stretches for people who are multi ligimented?

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Awesome!

      Great to see you are getting immediate relief from the exercises.

      I am not too sure what you are referring to when you say Multi-Ligamented. Please let me know so that I can help out 🙂

      Mark

  36. Great article!! Thank you for sharing such informative knowledge. Besides doing these exercises, would a lumbar support seat cushion help? I sit at a computer all day. Does the triangle cushion help with bringing the pelvis back or make it worse?

    1. Hi Steven,

      Lumbar support is great for prevent rounded of the lower back, but you need to make sure that you place it in lumbar curve (… and not to high in mid back region as this will encourage the sway back).

      Also – it is very important that if you use a lumbar support cushion, make sure you sit all the way back into the corner of the seat. Otherwise your pelvis will slide forwards.

      Triangle cushion tends to tilt your pelvis forward which can be beneficial in sitting. If you use it, just make sure your torso is correctly aligned on top of your pelvis.

      Let me know how it goes!

      Mark

  37. ohmygod omg omg

    I have been struggling and in pain for so long, my hips hurt, my legs hurt, my ankles, even my back. i thought it was posterior pelvic tilt although that’s only a part of it

    your hip flexor exercise works so well. i’m gonna do the shit out of that now. i feel better already after two sets. that’s what my problem is! weak hip flexors. your exercise worked very well thanks for the info

  38. Hi Mark. I have Osteonecrosis in both of my hips and both of shoulders. I have had both of my hips and one shoulder replaced. I have a really bad “trunk sway” as a result of surgeries. What do you suggest I do to stop or minimize that?

    1. Hi Gena,

      Is your trunk sway coupled with a sway back posture (hips in front of ankles)?

      If so – then you would follow the above mentioned exercises.

      If you have a trunk sway, (or a posterior rib tilt), then you would want to work on strengthening your abdominals to hold your lower rib cage down.

      You can try doing this exercise –

      The Dead bug:

      Your focus is to keep your lower back fairly flat to the floor as you bring your arms and legs down towards the ground.

      On top of that, you will need to re- position your shoulders. You can check out this post here to see some great exercises.

      Mark

  39. Just a note of great appreciation .. that Hip Extension for gluts really does help me as I could barely stand up straight at times and now feel confident to try out your other exercises. When in pain we go to physiotherapists, massage, acupuncture etc but I have never been shown what movements to strengthen or help to reverse my pain. Many thanks indeed.

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