AVENUE CLINIC NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2013
So many times if I tell someone that their posture is not brilliant, they suddenly sit bolt upright, stick their chests out and squeeze their shoulder blades together in an attempt to correct their position – but that feels so odd, how can it be right?
Well – it isn’t!
I have mentioned how important breathing correctly is – and of course standing is another simple but important thing to get right!
Both are things we do every day and think we do them right but how often we don’t – to our detriment.
What happens if we stick our chest out and squeeze our shoulders together?
This posture actually negatively impacts strength, puts more strain on the lower back, and raises the risk of developing pain and injury.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD POSTURE
BAD POSTURE – TOO MUCH INTERNAL ROTATION
In this photo, it’s obvious why this posture is bad – he is holding his shoulders rounded.
BAD POSTURE – OVERCOMPENSATION
Chest is up and shoulders are back. This is what most of us think is good posture. It’s not.
He is overcompensating by puffing out his chest and rigidly holding his shoulders back. Also, his ribs are flared out. Often we increase the natural curve in our low back when we do this which stresses the joints in the low back and can be painful.
This overcompensation also leads to loss of strength. It is a suboptimal scapula position, which offers the potential for annoying injuries particularly in the shoulders and neck.
What’s different about it? A few subtle but important things.
• Shoulders are still “back”, but he is not actively squeezing his upper back and shoulder blades together.
• His chest is still “up”, but it is not tilting toward the ceiling.
• His ribs are down and flat. This is key.
• He is not increasing the lumbar lordosis.
• He is relaxed. Of course, you can’t tell from the photo, but unlike the bad posture, he is not straining in the slightest to maintain this position. He is just standing there.
HOW TO EXERCISE TO GAIN CORRECT POSTURE
1. BECOME AWARE OF YOUR POSTURE WHEN YOU’RE WORKING OUT.
During exercises like lunges or rows, remember to keep your ribs down and to not lift your chest up.
It feels weird at first, but after consistently working on it, you will get stronger and your shoulders and lower back won’t hurt any more.
2. DO DEAD BUGS
This exercise has a funny name and looks ridiculous. It’s also very effective and makes your abdominals burn.
Step 1: Find a wall, make sure you’re about an arms-length away, then lie on your back with your legs in the air and your knees bent.
Step 2: Reach overhead and place your hands flat on the wall. Lightly push against the wall like you’re trying to move it. This co-contracts your latissimus dorsi muscles, which function as spinal stabilizers.
Step 3: Adjust your body so your chest and ribs are down (and not flared up or out), and you have a very small space between your lower back and the floor.
Step 4: While lightly pressing against the wall and keeping your chest and ribs down, slowly lower one leg and lightly touch the heel of your foot to the ground. Breathe in while you do this.
Step 5: Exhale while bringing your bent leg back into the air. Repeat with the other leg, breathing in as you lower it and lightly touch your heel to the floor.
Step 6: Repeat for 10 reps on each side.
3. DO WALL SLIDES
This is harder than it looks.
Even if you’ve been doing wall slides for years, once you focus on not lifting the chest (and keeping your ribs down), it becomes a lot harder.
Step 1: Stand against a wall with your head, upper back, and botom touching it. Reach overhead, and with your elbows slightly bent, place your hands and arms against the wall.
Step 2: Keep your chest and ribs down. (Don’t flare or lift them.) Don’t overarch your lower back. Instead, keep just a small space between your lower back and the wall. Walk your feet out a little if you need to maintain the position.
Step 3: Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can without losing contact with the wall.
Step 4: Slide your arms back up the wall. Make sure your ribs and chest are still down.
Step 5: Repeat for 10 reps.
1. Don’t stand like an action man! Be aware of how you ARE standing as often as you can.
2. Finally, if you want to have better posture, do the exercises above at the beginning of every workout in order to prepare your body to exercise correctly.
AND DON’T FORGET TO LOOK OUT FOR OUR COMPETITION STARTING 16TH SEPTEMBER…. YOU COULD WIN A GREAT PRIZE!