The correct pelvis position in sitting

Image courtesy of tigger11th at

Just sit straight. Isn’t that it?

No – It’s actually not that simple… And it’s more important than you think.

If you find that you are developing any aches or pains in your body after sitting all day at work, your sitting posture may be the root cause of it allI would like to offer you some strategies that you can try to help you overcome this problem.

The way you sit throughout your day determines your overall posture in ALL areas of your life. This means the posture when you go to work, drive, exercise, walk, sleep etc will also be affected! That is a HUGE problem!

 Bad sitting posture =  PAIN !

With bad posture in your daily activities (not just whilst sitting), you are at a considerably higher risk of developing postural pain (…and if you’re reading this article, chances are you probably already have the pain). Help your body work at its optimal state by re-aligning your sitting posture!

Since the majority us now pretty much live in front of the computer (yes – I’m referring to you), we have developed strategies that have adapted and moulded our body to sit… none of which are particularly helpful in our quest to be pain free from postural pain.

The problem:

Over time, the brain learns your sitting habits and eventually your bad posture simply becomes a default setting for you. It becomes natural and normal. And that’s where it gets a little tricky…

The brain is quite stubborn; once it learns a certain way of doing something, it will be very resistive to change. It’s almost like me telling a right handed person to start writing with their left hand only.

Re-train your brain, exercise the right muscles, fix your posture.

Before getting into the details, please download my FREE e-book: How to set up the workstation. Without a good sitting environment, it will be very difficult for you to maintain optimal postures, especially if you are there for around 8 hours a day. It also goes through the general alignment in ideal sitting.

But let’s get specific…

 The pelvis: The foundation of your good posture.


Your pelvis. This is where all good posture starts. This is your base… your core platform… your foundation.

If your pelvic position is out, your whole posture will be out. You need to get this right. I often tell my patients to think of a tall stack of bricks. If the bottom brick (your pelvis) is not aligned properly, then the rest of the stack will be unstable.

There are these pointy bones at the bottom of your pelvis called the ischial tuberosities (… let’s call them your sit bones).

Slide your hand underneath your bottom and see if you can locate them on yourself. Did you find them?

The trick to sitting is to get your body stacked on top of these sit bones. The problem I see evident in most of my patients is that they tend to let their tail bone tuck underneath and sit behind the sit bones (as opposed to on top of).


How to position your pelvis

To understand how you should position your pelvis in sitting, you first need to know the difference between tilting your pelvis forward/backwards and finding your neutral position (the “in between” position).
Check out this video below for a quick explanation.

Video from ProPhysiotherapy.

Great! Now that you  know what your neutral pelvic position is, the next step is to activate your brain whilst sitting! 

Wait… What does that mean?

Whilst sitting, you want to consciously maintain your pelvis in a neutral and relaxed position. Remember that your brain is wired to sit the wrong way and will go back to its default setting if you let it.  Keep that brain active. Be aware. Maintain this optimal pelvic position.

Top 5 reasons why you can’t position your pelvis properly… And exercises to fix it

1. Tight hamstring/gluteal muscles

hamstring stretches glute stretch

If your hamstrings are tight, this muscle group will make it very difficult to get your pelvis in the neutral position. As you sit down, the tight hamstrings will pull on your pelvis causing your body to sit behind your sit bones.

A very general indication to tell if you are tight is that if you can’t touch your toes from a standing position.

SolutionSTRETCH! As seen in the diagrams above, hold each stretch for a minimum for 60 seconds and repeated 3-5 times per day. Remember if you can’t feel a decent stretch, then you are probably not stretching the right muscle.


2. Poor lumbar spine strength

The main muscles responsible for rotating your pelvis into a good position are called your lower back erectors. If these muscles are weak or inhibited, it will be difficult to get your pelvis into a neutral position. Good thing we can train these muscles quite easily!

Check out the exercises in the video below.

Video from GPPFitness.

3. Lack of flexion mobility in your hip joint

Your hip socket joint plays an important role in your sitting. If you lack true flexion at the hip, your body will compensate by tilting your pelvis in a posterior direction (tailbone tucked under) resulting in sitting behind your sit bones.

Solution: Hip mobilisation

Video from Generation Care Performance Centre.

Hip flexors tend to become very tight in the sitting population. After all, sitting is hip flexion. These tight muscles can pull your hip joint out of good alignment making it difficult to sit properly without compensatory movements in your pelvis

hip flexor stretch

Solution: Hip flexor stretch. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, and repeat 3-5 times.


4. Neural tension

Similar to tight hamstrings, if you have “tight” nerves at the back of your leg, it can limit your ability to get your pelvis into the neutral position.

There are several reasons as to why the connective tissue around the nerve can become tight, but we’ll leave that for another post for another day.


Solution: Nerve stretch.

Whilst keeping your leg as straight as possible, pull your leg (with a towel or something of the similar) as far away from the ground as possible. With the added pressure bending the ankle towards you, you should feel a firm stretch down the back of your leg.

Hold this for at least 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times. Make sure you do both sides.


5. The size of your belly or quads

If you tend to have a large stomach or thigh area, this will create a physical block to keeping your pelvic in a neutral position.

If you fall into this category, I suggest that you sit from a slightly higher chair so that the angle between your thigh and body is around 120 degrees. This is to make sure your knees are lower than your hips to provide enough room around the pelvic area to sit properly.

Make sure you check out my FREE E-book: How to set up your workstation to ensure your work set up is the best for you.



Other general tips

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor. You should use a foot rest if you have short legs. Your ankle, knees and hips should be roughly bent at 90-100 degrees.
  • Distribute your weight evenly between your both buttock cheeks. Do not cross your legs for an extended period of time.
  • Ensure that your chest is in a neutral position. You do not want the chest to pop up too high, nor hunch too low.
  • Shoulder blades should be pulled back and down slightly. Make sure that you do not squeeze your shoulder blades together excessively.
  • Keep your elbows gently tucked into the sides of your body.
  • Gently keep your chin tucked in and elongate your neck.


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!


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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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54 thoughts on “The correct pelvis position in sitting

  1. Hi Mark,
    Thank you very much for what you have written in your blog. They are really good articles. You are so nice shared so much with us! I will try to read as much as I can. Wish you all the best!

  2. Hi Mark,

    This is interesting, thanks. I just can’t seem to sit well even practicing the stretches above, although they help. My pelvis always tilts so I am sitting behind my sits bones and my shoulders crawl forward and my spine is hunched after a short period of sitting. Would strengthening abdominals help?

    Thanks, Jane

    1. Hi Jane,

      Strengthening your core muscles will help with the sitting.

      You may also need to look else in your posture to see if it making it more difficult to sit correctly. A common tight area is the thoracic spine.

      Check out this post: Hunchback posture.


  3. Hello,
    For Years I have been dealing with a bulging disk that when my back flares up it will automatically go criqute. But this time around my back feels somewhat tilted to the left side and I have been feeling it more recent a lot I’m always trying to stretch or maybe tighten my abs to help me stand straight. Do you think I should get my back aligned or my hip is off. Since you can see the difference from my hips . My husband thinks maybe because I carry my toddler on my left side all the time but now my arm is hurting me a lot .

  4. Mark thank you so much for all your information. It has helped me, and I have been pain free for 3 months now. The only problem I have is the “sofa,” we tend to relax and all posture goes to hell. So using your information I’ve been sitting on a chair. So my question Mark is, “Is there a way to sit comfortably on a sofa or anywhere else that I could relax without hurting my back, that is not my bed. And is there a better sleeping position, for the back?’

    1. Hey Tina,

      Glad to hear that you’re pain free now!

      It is quite hard to sit with good posture on a sofa. I usually recommend to just side lie on it. (Just make sure your head is supported properly)

      For sleeping position, check out this post: Best sleeping position.


  5. Hey Mark,

    I started having lower back pain and sciatica over a year ago. 31 years old, played basketball for 1-2 hours a day almost every day, until it got to the point where the pain was too much to run. 2.5 months ago it got to the point where it was painful to walk, so I got an MRI which showed a bulging disc & herniation. My PT only did stretching which got me nowhere, until my bro in law (an ex physical trainer) checked me out and concluded I had 0 muscle in my legs. I started doing a workout regimen 3 wks ago and already feel much better, but I do notice (my acupuncturist did as well) that my right pelvic bone is out while my left is in. Any advice? Btw, I saw 3 PTs, 2 chiros that all obsessed with and tried to fix the “disc issue”, while the real issues were my muscles
    and my alignment / pelvis. Any feedback would be awesome.

  6. Hi Mark,
    Thank you for your articles on sitting as well as lateral pelvic tilt!!! Can a tight hip flexor, quad or IT band be enough to cause SI joint dysfunction? …I’ve been dealing with SIJD for quite some time and often after a few days of improvement from a chiropractic adjustments, the joint slips right back out of alignment…often at night, waking me up, even though I sleep on my back on a firm mattress and am wearing an SI belt. Tonight I noticed slight tightness in my lateral quad after it happened. I’ve been stretching and strengthening glutes, core, and pelvic floor to try to fix this. Any thoughts on how to prevent my SIJD?

    1. Hi Monica,

      With SIJ issues, it is either too compressed or too loose. What exercises you will do will depend on this.

      If you are wearing a SI belt, I will assume the chiropractor has assessed that your SI is too loose.

      Any muscle that controls pelvis movements can affect the SIJ.

      In general (but not limited to), the glute max exercises are the way to go for this.


  7. Hi mark.
    your article is great and i want to ask that m having pain while sitting in pelvis it’s because of prolonged sitting in office with tailbone tucked in by which i also feel difficulty in urination and defecation i think that position has tightened my pelvic muscles any suggestions will be great help thanks

  8. Love the article! I have been struggling with lower back pain and can’t tell if I have anterior or posterior pelvic tilt or swayback or something else.
    I feel like certain stretches contradict each other depending on what you have (ex. APT: don’t stretch hamstrings…PVT: stretch hamstrings, don’t stretch hip flexors)

    I’m not sure what I have but I would say I have a flat back but I feel like my pelvis has an anterior shift. Any advice on what to do?

    Love your articles, super helpful. thanks!

  9. Hi Mark,

    I have been looking for anything more on neural tension on your site, given your reference to it here. I get that ‘neural’ pain when I try to stretch my hamstrings before I think I am really stretching the muscle, but my attempts at ‘stretching it out’ don’t seem to work and I am not even at 90º let long touching my toes!

    Do you have more advice or information you could refer me to on that topic?

    1. Hi Tams,

      If you have neural tension, you can try flossing/gliding the nerve:
      (See image)

      More importantly, make sure you do not have anterior pelvic tilt as this will over stretch your hamstring area.
      Post: Anterior pelvic tilt

      Any nerve irritations along the spine can cause neural tension in the leg as well.


  10. hello Mark,

    Interesting how you dont hint at week abdominals or tight hip flexors.

    When im sitting incorrectly i notice i have the tenancy to anteriorly pelvic tilt which actual gives me thoracic pain as well a tight spinal erectors.

    To compensate i have to engage core and “tuck” my pelvis to bring it back to neutral.

      1. What’s your facebook name? i have some questions i would like to ask about my posture and knee/hip. Please!

    1. I stand with me knees somewhat bent backwards (always have). I have a flat butt and my stomachs does protrude. I am 5’6 female 162 lbs. I carry most of my weight in stomached and chest. I have been working at a desk job now for 3 years. Sometimes when I do stand to do certain things I will tend to slightly arch my back and have a painful lower back spasm in the arch of my back. When I stand up after sitting it will hurt. And even hurts when I sleep. I mostly try to sleep on my side with a pillow between my knees. Sadly I am pretty seditary right now. I am 45 and feeling like I am 80. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I also have had fallen arches and hypermobile issues in my right foot that resulted in a bunionectomy with fusion (lapidus mcbride procedure) in 2009. The surgery was successful and helped.

  11. Hello. I love and so needed your article. I’m 44 now and was injured in a car accident when I was about 13. I’ve had 1 child who is now 21. As like no as I could remember when I started having organ exams I’ve been told my pelvic was tilted. I never received treatment from the auto accident (perhaps my mother didn’t think we were injured but she received years of treatment) and I just learned this week that I have issues with pelvic tilt and hip crookedness. However my lower pelvis tilts backward causing me to kind of walk with my butt on my back ( only way to describe it). It’s outward. I’m going to start chiropractic treatments to hopefully correct these issues. In your field, have you seen these things corrected and how long does it take with a few treatments or alignments a week? Desperately trying to correct my walk, stand, posture and my butt appearance.

  12. This has been extremely helpful- thank you! Wpull you recommend sitting on a pillow/towel in a char to elevate the hips a bit if your chair dips down on the buttocks? I know I have to sit elevated on the floor in yoga and that helps but I want to make sure it is the same concept before doing more damage…

  13. Thank you for this treasure trove of posture help Mark! I’ve been in constant pain for years, and now I feel like I’m on the right track. I am enjoying your kind and clear writing style too. Summer blessings to you!:-)

  14. this website is amazing… thanks so much for taking the time to be so thorough about the why’s and how’s and sharing this with the public. I’ve been reading a lot of this over the past few days, and I’m going to start many of these exercises today. Thank you !!!!!!!

      1. Hello, I have a clicky hip.
        Can it be ‘fixed’ forever with exercise alone, as per ALL the chiropractors, physios and wonderfully intended health people?
        I’m pretty sick of forever exercising all the time. I’m 50. Weigh 60kg.
        Just wondering.

        1. Hey Swizz,

          What is the exact cause of your clicky hip?

          This will direct which SPECIFIC exercise you should do to completely eliminate the issue.


          1. Hi Sue,

            I would get this assessed in person by a health professional.

            It could be hip arthrosis, labral issues, poor control of hip musculature, misaligned pelvis over hip bones, tendons flicking over a bony prominence.

            Depending on the cause of a clicking hip will determine what you should do next.


    1. Hi Aryan,

      You will need to engage your glute muscles to rotate your pelvis backwards (“tuck your tail bone underneath you”) whilst you perform the hip flexor stretch.

      Keep your abdominals slightly engaged will help maintain a good alignment of your pelvis as well.


  15. Thank you so much! I have had problems with a flat to spine causing heart palpitations and back pain for almost 25 years an’s I didn’t realize how I sit on my pelvis could affect that. I also have trouble with my legs falling asleep while sitting and getting sharp zinging pains in my toes. I tried a few of these exercises and it was obvious immediately that my hips are tight and contributing to the problem. I think what you wrote here will really help me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Tabitha,

      Thanks for the comment.

      Without a good position of your pelvis, it is very difficult to achieve good posture.

      Remember to have a look around at the other posts on the blog if you haven’t already 🙂


  16. Hi, thank you so much for this!! I study yoga insruction ( first year out of two) and this is so useful for me and for my students. Thank you for the time and consideration.:-)

  17. I am so glad I found your site! My current job which I have had for a few months is completely desk based. I sit for 8 hours at my desk, and another hour or so on the train each day. I have definitely noticed an anterior pelvic tilt and wanted to sort it out sooner rather than later. Very useful and detailed information so I really know what I am doing about my posture problems (and why!). Only thing is some of these stretches hurt- ouch! I suppose they will get easier the more I do them. Thanks so much Mark.

  18. Thanks Mark for this advice.

    One problem I have that when I sit to read, I like to have my book close to my face. Is there a way to do that without crouching forward? Bending the whole upper body, forward, but keeping the back straight?

    Thanks and all the best

    1. Hi Florian,
      Always maintain the upright posture as suggested here.
      If you like to read with the book close to your face, make sure that your elbows are supported at the appropriate level as to prevent a neutral head position.

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