When performing the long stance (ap kubi in Taekwondo), sometimes there is a tendency to lean the hip forward, causing a pronounced S on your spine, where the glutes stick out.

So, even if your legs are properly positioned, your overall stance is not satisfactory.

What could be done the avoid this bad posture of the upper body?

For more context on the anterior pelvic tilt (APT):

While the spine is not straight, and naturally has a slight S shape, some people have more pronounced curves, causing the glutes to stick back and the bellybutton and chest to stick forward. In some cases this can come from the person's physiology, but it is also known to be a bad posture problem, that can be caused by is prolonged sitting in a bad position.

The natural position: Normal stance

The APT position: enter image description here


As a pathology, there are specific exercises to treat it, but question here is rather about that how to counter this exaggeration in the spine curvature when doing the long stance. Also, the same issue can come up on the horseback riding stance.

  • Why do you think it's wrong? The tilt you speak of is there for a reason, to reduce tension. The only other way of achieving that without tilting the pelvis is to angle the back foot out a little more and bending at the back knee. Then you have a Taiji stance. And Taiji is kind of the authority here. They do it for one reason: Maintaining balance in the joints. If the joints are not centered in their range, then it means you're unable to adapt to forces on the joint that would cause it to reach its limit. Balance is the primary issue. Channeling power is the other. The stance allows for both. Jun 27, 2018 at 5:22
  • I expanded the explanation and added images. Jun 27, 2018 at 8:52
  • Two things: First, it's unlikely that this tilt is present in the long stance, but not in other stances. I don't really understand the emphasis on this stance. Second, what is "natural" on this point is debated. I have seen very strongly worded arguments both for more straightening and not tucking from people within the same systems.
    – mattm
    Jun 28, 2018 at 14:05
  • If you want to learn and practice methods to actually fight I would avoid this stance period. I started learning TKD in 1969 and use the useful kicks and avoid the old methods that are more primitive and less effective. If you are training because you like the 'art' then you got to deal with it. Jul 19, 2018 at 19:56
  • Yes, the "art" side is an important part of TKD, and is required to progress. It is embarrassing for a practitioner to not be able to perform this stance correctly. Jul 19, 2018 at 20:27

5 Answers 5


Actually Yoga is probably your best option. There are a wide variety of focuses, but one focused on your lower back and posture would help strengthen those muscles as well as make you muscle memory more likely to maintain posture during martial arts maneuvers.

No silver bullet here except training muscle memory, but anything that helps you maintain body dynamics and helps you move the way your body is meant to will help.

P.S. If your spine is out of alignment see a chiropractor. I find the activator method best, but find one that truely is helpful...it does make a huge difference with skeletal alignment.


This is not a problem to be addressed by the stance itself. First off, stances (despite their name) are not static things: they facilitate movement from one place to another. In actual application, stances may be prolonged for the sole purpose of keeping balance, keeping still, changing a technique, holding a person (eg, joint lock), using a weapon, etc. But rarely will you be expected to remain in that position for any length of time longer than a moment. In context of training, your instructor might have you stand in front stance for a prolonged period of time, perhaps s/he gets carried away while monologuing. Or perhaps it is a stamina building or condition exercise?

But by and large, the problem you speak of is not caused by the stance itself.

If you are to avoid the tilt, perhaps it is best to address the nature of the cause to begin with. Your doctor may tell you that you have an injury; fixing the front stance isn't going to help the injury. You may be told that your bed is malformed and is causing you back problems. But fixing the stance isn't going to fix your bed, and further, if you sleep for 8 hours, that will likely undo-undo anything you try to undo in fixing your stance (unless you happen to remain in a front stance fixing your posture for 9 hours, every day, for the rest of your life?)

And that is the point: it is your doctor who should be telling you how and what to fix. Not to be cute, but remember the song "Dem Bones"? (That song tells is the toe bone connected to the foot bone; the foot bone connected to the heel bone; the heel bone connected to the ankle bone; the ankle bone connected to the shin bone; the shin bone connected to the knee bone; the knee bone connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone connected to the hip bone...)

And that's where your problems might lie: problem with a broken toe can reverberate through the foot, heel, ankle, shin, knee, thigh, and hip. Or any problem between the toe and hip can affect the hip. Fixing the hip instead of the problem's source isn't going to help you.

Now that I've said all that, I'll say this: work on Kegel exercises. That can help with a multitude of problems, and hip flexion is what it addresses.

Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women


So, even if your legs are properly positioned, your overall stance is not satisfactory.

What could be done the avoid this bad posture of the upper body?

Firstly, I'm not a sports doctor and wouldn't presume to understand the health consequences here, but what's good and bad posture from a general health perspective seems quite a different concern to what's desirable from a martial arts efficacy perspective. I'm not sure of your priorities, and why you think anterior pelvic tilt is a problem.

Just taking a martial arts perspective, this kind of stance is most useful for:

  • delivering a powerful reverse hand technique,
  • a front-hand outwardly-rotating block, or
  • occasionally transiently to create space for the hips to turn as you pursue an opponent with a back leg kick.

For those reverse hand techniques, having the spine under some tension due to APT is deliberately used in some arts (/ by some practitioners) believing it allows the striking arm to sling-shot past the torso without the torso yielding backwards in the process: seeking to transfer more power from hip rotation into the shoulders. That said, what's (arguably) better for power generation may also be worse in other ways - mobility, vulnerability if struck first, range of techniques that can be deployed from the preparatory position, self-damage during years of practice etc.. There's also an argument for keeping the body inclined forwards (put quite well in this video - if you consider sliding forwards from the inclined position while preparing a reverse punch - or even to use body arms to shove someone, the forward incline of the pelvis and rearward pressure on the shoulders will tend to create that kind of S shaped spine position just before you snap into the technique.

Secondly, the single mention of "ap kubi" and taekwondo may or may not be intended to restrict the conversation. In a given school of taekwondo, there may be a highly prescriptive definition of good form that's not easily changed, and practitioners may choose to adhere to that if they care about being deemed to have good technique, scores in competition etc.. I'll leave this consideration with you as taekwondo spread so widely and fast and there's a plethora of variations out there with vastly different techniques. That said, looking beyond a single school's requirements there are basic functional factors that I believe should be used to analyse and refine technique. For instance, I'd say both the photos in the question show people with overly long stances, as their back leg is already straight and their back foot is so far to the rear that the hip of their back leg can't rotate as far forward as (let alone slightly past) the hip of the front leg: consequently, they can't possibly deliver a decent reverse-hand technique from that stance, which is one of the very few reasons to use the stance at all. The best online illustration of how hip rotation should work that I'm aware of is this video - if you consider that kind of rotation and make sure your stance is the right length to allow it powerfully, that will inform the length and width of the stance better than the guidelines for beginners bandied about in most taekwondo schools - e.g. 30 degree angles of back feet, front knee either just so it covers the toes or so the shin's vertical depending on whom you ask, one-and-a-half shoulder widths long, a shoulder width or a fist-width width between ankles etc. - such guidelines help beginners get ballpark-right stances that give them a chance of realising ok rotation during delivery of techniques from the stance, and hopefully over time that feedback will let the student refine their stance as a useful position during fighting.


I second yoga practice, provided you have a teacher that focuses on the pelvic floor. Also Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor. In my experience it's more about mindfulness than needing to actually strengthen the muscles, but deliberate exercises focusing on those muscles and holding the posture you are looking for will help with both mindfulness and strength.


This is why basic workout and stretching exercise is a must for martial art practice. Anterior Pelvic Tilt can occur when certain muscles are strengthened but the supporting muscles on opposite side are weak. To fix this, some muscles need strengthening and some muscles need stretch. It need to strengthen the abdominal muscles (it seems people with weak abdominal muscle are more likely to developer anterior pelvic tilt). and the muscle hip flexor need stretch. These are some example. There are other muscles also. Search more about it. Basic workout and stretching exercises must be part of martial art practice.

  • You should improve your answer by adding links to stretches that might be helpful.
    – Mike P
    Mar 26, 2019 at 9:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.