Posture and Corrective Exercises

Proper posture alignment is something that is commonly forgotten nowadays. Unfortunately, our posture is either overlooked or not considered during exercise. You might have heard a friend or family member complain about low back pain or you may have noticed that you have dominance of a specific muscle group or side dominance, which can be very problematic. Therefore, it is important to take a step back from the heavy weights (or even those lighter loads) and fix your posture to optimize your training and make sure that you are not having any muscle compensations, side dominance, pelvic tilting, etc.

            Deviations in your posture may reflect muscle-endurance issues in the postural muscles and/or some potential muscular imbalances at your joints. The presences of poor posture is a good indicator of dysfunctional movement. The following are some of the correctible and non-corrective factors that attribute to muscle imbalance and postural deviations.

Corrective Factors:

  • Repetitive movements/muscular pattern overload
  • Awkward positions/movements
  • Side dominance
  • Lack of joint stability and mobility
  • Imbalanced strength-training programs

Non-corrective Factors

  • Congenital conditions
  • Some pathologies
  • Structural deviations
  • Certain types of traumas

Recently one of our trainers gave a presentation over posture and some corrective exercises that should be included in everyone’s daily exercise routine. The following will give you more insight on what good posture looks like, how muscular imbalances play a role in posture, how the pelvis influences our posture (specifically posterior pelvic tilting), and some corrective exercises to fix poor posture.

WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE & WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE 

  • An idealized neutral spine alignment consists of a mathematical balance of 12 vertebrae curved anteriorly (7 cervical + 5 lumbar) with the 12 thoracic vertebrae curved posteriorly.

-Figure 1 : The above picture depicts a comparison of good posture vs. poo posture. 

– Figure 2: This is a break down of the mathematical arrangement of the spine. Starting at the top are the 7 Cervical vertebrae followed by the 12 thoracic, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. 

Figure 3: ABNORMAL/FATIGUE-RELATED POSTURE

MUSCULAR IMBALANCE VS BALANCE

  • Muscular imbalances arise from problems with one muscle group that often creates problems in another/opposing muscle group.
  • If one muscle group is tight, then it will pull the body out of a neutral alignment, causing increased stress and imbalance on the opposite side of the body.
  • If the muscles are weak, they can also fall out of alignment.
  • An Example of agonist/antagonist imbalance can be seen with the erector spinae and the abdominal muscles.

–Commonly, we see the abdominals overmatched by the muscles that extend the trunk.

WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE & WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE 

The Pelvis

–Plays a very important role in determining the forces applied at the lumbar spine

  • Can help reduce lower back pain with proper alignment
  • Requires muscular strength and flexibility of both sides of the trunk (anterior & posterior)

–Trunk & Hip Flexors (Anterior) and the Trunk & Spinal Extensors (Posterior)

Figure 4: The muscles acting on the pelvis. 

Figure 5: Pelvic alignment.

Figure 6: PELVIC TILT

POSTERIOR PELVIC TILT

  • Posterior pelvic tiltis when the pelvis rotates backwards out of the ideal neutral position.
  • Posterior pelvic tilt WILL drastically effect your posture. It may  be the reason for pain and tightness in your body.
  • You are at a higher risk of developing disc bulges, nerve issuesand muscular strainsin your lumbar spine with the lack of a natural curve in your back.

Figure 7: Bulging Discs which are the result of a posterior pelvic tilt. 

 Figure 8: This picture shows the muscular imbalance that takes place during a posterior pelvic tilt. 

  • What Causes This?

–Sitting

–Squatting

–Bending over

–Standing * with a sway back posture

  • Excessive sitting causes muscles controlling the position of the pelvis to get…
  • Tight/overactivemuscles:

–Hamstring

–Gluteal group

–Abdominal

  • Weak/Elongated:

–Hip flexor group

–Lumbar spine erector group

  • As a result of the imbalance of the forces around the pelvis region, the net force to tilt backwards.

5 Exercises to Fix Your Posterior Pelvic Tilt

1)Leg Raises

2)Leg Lunges

3)Foam Roll your legs

4)Static Hamstring Stretch

5)Superman Stretch

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