Sunday 6.06.10

Examples of bad and good posture from standing and sitting positions

Posture= Good Form

Often when working out, pains or injuries occur. We are always trying to minimize these occurrences- with good form, proper nutrition and recovery. I would argue that you can show me a completely 100% safe program and I would contend it is as ineffective as it is safe.

“Why does my shoulder hurt when I do cleans?” “Why does my back hurt when I deadlift?” “Why do my knees hurt when I squat?” “Why do I jerk the same as my push press?”
The quick answer is always easy: “Your form is not right.”

When it comes to good form, the same rules that apply in the gym still apply once we leave the gym, when we get in our cars, or when sit at the computer for eight hours a day. Functional fitness stresses midline stability—chest up, lumbar curve, weight back on the heels. But what happens when we leave the gym? The first thing that happens is we lose this great positioning.

Think about how you sit in your car, or at the computer, or over the dinner table. Usually you are tilting your head towards wherever your attention is (the windshield/ steering wheel, the computer screen, your plate). This usually follows with your shoulders leaning forward, your lower back rounded, and your knees bent far past the toes. Not to call you out or anything, but I bet most of you reading this right now are doing at least most of those things as you read this post. Sitting that way for hours throughout the day can be worse than bad form during a workout.

Bad posture puts excessive pressure on the lower neck, the upper back, the shoulders and the lower back. It can cause uneven joint pressure and strain in the body. This form breakdown is training your body over an extended period of time to have bad positioning. If your body
is slumped forward or off to one side, then you have trained muscles, tendons and ligaments to be tighter on one side and more slack on the other. This lack of symmetry in the body is the root cause of many injuries we inflict on our bodies.

And unfortunately for most of us, those injuries do not reveal themselves until you’re at the gym and you place an outside stress component on the body, such as the barbell and kettle bell lifts or long distance cardio events. And then we compound the problem with poor positioning when we stretch, somehow it becomes ok to slouch, “because hey, I got to touch my toes without bending my legs to get a good stretch, right?”

So how do we fix these positioning problems? We always hear “sit up straight.” But we don’t want to straighten the spine out. We need these strong curves from top to bottom because they give leverage and mechanical advantage to the muscles of the spine. The curves, that curve inward at the neck and lower back and outward from the shoulders and upper back, also help spread pressure throughout the joints of the spine so increased pressure isn’t concentrated at a few joints.

Now can everyone really sit or stand for eight hours a day with perfect posture? Not at all. I tried once, I know kind of geeky. Posture is dynamic, a movement of that utilizes muscles and skeletal structure and incorporates it with function, mobility and stability. The first step is to break up the patterns of bad posture and to avoid holding those positions for long periods of time. When you find yourself slumped in your chair or car and leaning your head forward and rounding your lower back, ask yourself, “What would happen if I caught a power clean in this position? What if I deadlift in this position, is that safe?

When you catch it, correct yourself. As you do, you will get better and better at it and will find yourself with better posture for longer periods of time. Then you can make it to The Compound more often, unobstructed of most aches and pains. cc

1 comment:

  1. I am reading this with bad posture! Are you in my bushes outside watching me?