-More about Posture…and a Quick Drill!-
Let’s face it – most of us have horrible posture. When you realize the effects of gravity alone, it’s obvious that we must be constantly aware of our posture! Regardless of how much I know about the human body and exercise, I know mine can always be better! I have a few “issues” that I must continue to address: like most people, I have an anteriorly-tilted pelvis. My mom used to always tell me that I was “swaybacked” when I was younger, but this isn’t the case. In “swaybacked” posture the pelvis actually has a posterior tilt. Anyhow, aside from this, i’ve had a “bad” low back since I was a gymnast. This goes hand in hand with my anteriorly-tilted pelvis. I have also been told that I have a “leg length discrepancy,” meaning my left leg is slightly longer than my right. I’ve never been able to conclude if this is due to my left leg actually being longer than my right, or due to my hips not being level, as my left hip is a little higher than my right. It’s kinda one of those “chicken or the egg” things. 🙂 In addition, I have chronic myofascial pain along the left side of my torso (lats and QL) that I believe is linked to nerve damage from a surgery I had nine years ago. There is a cascade effect that goes along with my “issues,” as they are all interrelated. In a nutshell, the entire left side of my body in general is tight, which further aggravates my hip/low back issues. If I do not stay on top of my specific stretches and corrective exercises, my low back will definitely tell me!
As you can see, i’m standing “relaxed” in the first picture…not trying to make myself taller or anything, lol. Also, my biggest fan is reminding me to not “cheat” and correct my posture! If you look at my left side, you can tell something is “off.” You can see that my hips shift over to that side slightly and there are other deviations, but I won’t get into all that.
In the second picture you can really tell that I spend too much time working on my laptop! 🙂 As a fitness professional, I spend a lot of time on my feet, and obviously work out, but I do spend a good amount of time on my computer. As i’ve talked about before, sitting at a desk for an extended period of time can wreak havoc on your posture. The common term for “desk posture” is Upper Cross Syndrome. Look at my upper body in this picture. I’m not kyphotic (slumped-over) but I do have some protraction (rounding forward) of the shoulders.
In the third picture, I have corrected my posture somewhat. Can you tell the difference?
Last, but definitely not least, is my good side! 😀 Seriously, though, in the fourth picture i’m standing with relatively good posture but you can still tell that I have a few discrepancies.
The point of using myself as an example is to prove to you that we ALL need to spend time each day working on our posture! I know, I know, there are a gazillion other more exciting things you could do with your time BUT it’s important. You only get one body! Your posture has a direct impact on your health, your ability to perform exercises correctly, and your overall well-being!
Here’s an easy posture drill:
STEP 1: Stand with your heels back to the wall, your head back and your chin in. The back of your head should come within about a third of an inch of the wall without the tilting back and eyes looking up.
STEP 2: Tilt your pelvis so that your hand can only slide beneath your lower back. You should automatically feel your glutes and deep abdominal muscles engage.
STEP 3: Now pull your shoulders back to the wall without changing the position of your head, lower back or feet. You will feel the muscles of your upper back and shoulder blades engage.
This simple drill will be difficult for most people. The bottom line is that it can help help you understand what muscles need to be addressed in order to help you achieve better posture! The muscles that you felt engage during this drill (bold text) are those that may need a little more TLC!