The Importance of Posture

Ever tweaked a muscle when working out? Whether due to a loss of focus or chronic poor form, getting hurt when exercising can be a huge setback. Good posture means maintaining correct alignment of your body in a seated position, while standing, and during motion. Most athletes and active people pay attention to posture during exercise, but after a few minutes at the desk we start to slump. Being able to maintain good posture is a combination of flexibility, strength, endurance, and awareness. Most people have the ability to achieve proper alignment, however in just seconds they can start to lose their alignment.

Posture is both static and dynamic, yet we must practice good posture in the gym but also at home. Attempting great posture during lifts will not always translate over to good posture sitting or even standing. It is a combination of the numbers game. Meaning, the average person spends roughly seven hours a day sitting at work, then add in driving time, meals, watching TV, and other activities. This can translate into over twelve hours a day sitting. No amount of good posture while lifting for the hour or two you work out can make up for the sheer amount of time spent in poor position while sitting.

Positioning in exercise is critical to force output, energy conservation, and safety. An athlete in a good position is resilient and tends to remain injury free. The body is meant to move large loads and have great endurance. Poor positioning and posture not only require additional energy but also strain the body in unnatural ways and directly correlates to higher injury rates.Fortunately, weight lifting and cardio needn’t be dangerous if you can keep a few concepts in mind.

First, try this posture test: When viewed from the side, an imaginary vertical line should pass through your earlobe, the tip of your shoulder, midway through your trunk, over the bony part of your thigh, and then through both your knee and ankle. If there is any deviation from this alignment, like if your ears are in front of your shoulders or your shoulders roll toward your chest, you are set-up for potential injury.

Aside from maintaining ideal posture, try these technique modifications to avoid injuring yourself during 5 common exercises:

1. SQUAT:

Don’t let you knees drop inward. This common mistake can be remedied if you actively spread your knees apart.

Our advice: Doing air squats with a mini band around your thighs is a good way to train proper technique.

2. DEADLIFT:

Avoid low back injury by maintaining your natural lumbar curvature.

Our advice: Imagine a broomstick running along the length of your spine; if your pelvis curls off the bottom of the stick during the deadlift, then you’ve lost your lumbar curve.

3. SHOULDER PRESS:

Decrease the risk of shoulder impingement by mimicking the natural plane of shoulder motion.

Our advice: Hold your elbows slightly forward of your chest, rather than directly at your sides.

4. PLANK:

Spare yourself unnecessary spinal compression by preventing your head and belly from sagging to the floor.

Our advice: Tighten your core and shoulder girdle so that you are one straight line from the top of your skull to your ankles.

5. RUNNING:

Land as softly as possible to decrease impact on your joints.

Our advice: One method to do this is by decreasing your stride length, while simultaneously increasing your cadence.

Good Luck!

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