Are you aware of your posture ? Did you know that poor posture can lead to more issues and potentially injure you? If your posture is poor from hours of sitting at a desk or standing incorrectly, then not only will it ruin your snatch, clean, deadlift, and squat, but you’re also setting yourself up for a long list of injuries: shoulder impingement, labrum tears, rotator cuff issues, lower back problems, disc issues in general, hip flexor tendonitis, knee and ankle issues.
Postural alignment is the basis of proper movement. If your postural alignment is off, your movement patterns suffer. A large portion of the most common postural issues and also some of the most easily reversible problems stem from sitting down too much, particularly if you’re leaning forward and hunched over a keyboard. When you sit for prolonged periods of time the group of muscles responsible for hip flexion are in a shortened position. Spend enough time with these muscles like this and they start to adjust to their new length and even develop a preference for staying that way. Your body will adjust to any demand you place upon it and all it’s doing by shortening these muscles is helping you maintain the position that you’ve demonstrated you really like being in.
Anterior pelvic tilt ruins your core control and hip extension.Tight hip flexors can contribute heavily to hip flexor tendonitis, particularly when you try to use them in a flexion heavy activity like running. Having your pelvis tilted anteriorly will also lengthen your abdominal muscles into a less than ideal position, which can lead to poor abdominal control and poor core stabilization. This scenario, when compounded with the additional pressure exerted on your lower back from the poor pelvic position, can cause a whole lot of lumbar pain.
Probably the second largest set of issues from poor posture is at the shoulders. Want to do a simple test? Stand up and let your hands hang down by your sides naturally. Just let ‘em hang hang wherever they will. Now take a look at your palms. For the most part your palms should face each other. In other words, your thumbs should point forward and your palms should face the midline of your body. When your shoulders sit in internal rotation, then the muscles responsible for producing that motion your lats, teres major, pec major, subscapularis, and anterior deltoid suffer a similar fate to your hip flexors in chronic flexion. They get shortened and locked down at that length because it’s the easiest way for your body to maintain that wonderful hunched position.
Proper postural alignment can be attained by doing the following:
Stand up and flex your glutes. This should help tilt your pelvis posteriorly (reversing the APT we’ve been talking about).
Now flex your abs just a bit, only enough to maintain the pelvic position so you can relax your glutes.
Now stand up tall as if a string was pulling the top of your head to the ceiling. Twist your thumbs all the way out so they almost point behind you while pulling your shoulder blades back a bit.
Now relax your arms and try to maintain that shoulder position by using only the muscles in your upper back.
Proper postural alignment is the basis of all movement. If your posture sucks, your movement suffers and you might get hurt. Fix your posture and you’ve just taken a huge step in unlocking the full athletic potential of your body. You may also avoid some injuries along the way.