This week, DYLAN from Circuit is guest blogging and teaching us how to improve our posture! Read on for some information about why posture is so important, as well as some tips and tricks for keeping our posture on the safe side.
Here you are, sitting at your computer/sitting on your phone reading my first blog post. Without knowing it you are deconstructing one of the most important traits of healthy well-being: your posture. Outside of all the “CMONS” and lack of water breaks, you probably wonder why I am constantly using the same coaching cues for the entire 50 minutes. It is because I am working to fix this simple, yet complex anatomical mess.
My goal isn’t to fix your posture through one post, or one training session. I simply want to educate YOU on how you can start taking your fitness and well-being in YOUR own hands. This is a simple, free method of “training” that will singlehandedly make you feel and move better. If you’re going to eat clean, train hard and have near death experiences inside CAMP, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to feel better?
Before we go any further with this post I have a few questions I would like you to ask yourself.
1. How often are you in the seated position each day?
2. When seated for an extended period of time does your lumbar and/or thoracic spine feel “tight and achy”?
3. Are your hamstrings “tight”?
4. Do you have neck pain and/or frequent headaches?
5. Do you have shoulder pain?
Each question pertains to your poor posture. Notice I did not relate any of these questions to your training session. My concern with your posture doesn’t necessarily pertain to your time training. It pertains to the other 160 hours of the week, when you are not training. Unless, of course, there is an underlying medical condition which I will not get into.
What is this poor posture I am talking about? Envision a Hunchback of Notre Dame, or a cavemen sitting at a fire. Their back is rounded, shoulders are rolled forward, and head is flexed forward as well. Likely, it is similar to how you are currently sitting. The only difference is your technology is a little more up to date than their sticks and stones.
In this position, a few key things are happening, all located at the most complex joint in the body: the hip joint. In the body you can have “long and weak” muscles as well “short and weak” muscles. Poor posture results in
· Short/tight Hip Flexors (particularly the Psoas)
· Long and weak Glutes
These two bullet points cause the hip joint to “anteriorly tilt” or“tilt forward.” When your pelvis tilts forward for an extended period of time you are unable to contract your glutes. When you are unable to contract your glutes, erector spinae (low back) and your hamstrings will overwork. These two muscles are overactive to do the work the glutes should be doing, therefore causing you to have pain!
Tight Psoas --> Weak Glutes --> Overactive Hamstring & Erector Spinae --> Pain
From a Circuit standpoint, there are multiple things we do as instructors to address this issue. We perform different activation patterns, as well as mobility exercises that target the issues I have stated in this post. The first photograph in this post shows an inverted row with SRT Bands- you're probably pretty familiar with this if you come to Circuit. Pinch your shoulder blades back and down when pulling yourself through the movement. Upon release of the movement, protract your shoulder blades as much as possible. Don't forget to squeeze your glutes!
Below you can find two other exercises that focus on glute activation. Glute activation will help stabilize the lumbar spine, relieving stress from the lower back and hamstring. AKA it will change the game for your posture.
This being said, I am not the end all be all to getting this issue under control. There are multiple forms of rehabilitation that will begin rewiring your movement patterns, mostly coming from you!
Below are 3 things to incorporate day to day, to improve your posture:
- If seated at your office space for greater than 30 minutes do the following:
-Sit all the way to the front of your chair.
-Place your arms down by your side, palms facing out.
-Pull your shoulder blades back and down.
-Feet hip width apart, toes out
-Take 3 breaths, taking 10 seconds on the inhale, 10 seconds on the exhale.
- When in doubt, stick your chest out. Go ahead, try it now!
- As strength training is super helpful, it happens to only be about one third of our solution. We must stretch and maintain mobility of the antagonist muscles (pecs, shoulder internal rotators, hip flexors. If you are in the office perform this one stretch for the pecs.
-Find a doorway, stand inside of it
-Make a 90 degree angle, with your hands now on the door frame. Lean into the stretch and push against the frame, hold for 10 seconds.
-Lean into the stretch more. Perform 3 sets of 10 second holds!
Stay tuned for more posts about how you can develop ways to move better, stay training and see results not only aesthetically but results in your every day activities!