Every body is unique and will respond best to a training program that is customized specifically for it. Too many times I see people performing exercises that are unsafe for them or that will actually perpetuate already poor posture.
A snapshot of your postural alignment contains some of the most important information needed to customize your fitness training program. Here are 7 reasons why you should consider having a physical and a lifestyle assessment of your alignment before you hit the weights.
Your job is beating you up
Repetitive physical activities at your work may be destroying your posture. This could be large or small movements that you do frequently everyday or for extended periods. For example, if you spend a lot of time bending over (flexing your spine), you will want to include movements in your workout that involve the opposite movement (extend the spine).
You are crooked
Your job or hobbies may include movements that or performed on only one side of the body or only in one direction. For example swinging a tennis racket, or golf club involves rotating in the same direction. Using a mouse or answering a phone are generally performed regularly with one side of the body. Your strength program should include balancing exercises to correct or prevent asymmetries.
Static positions held for long periods of time such a hunching at a desk, sitting or standing on a hard surface can cause muscles to become overstretched and weak, or shortened and tight. The appropriate prescription of strengthening or stretching is required for each muscle involved.
An old injury may be a source of weakness that has gradually produced a muscular imbalance. For example, a knee injury may have caused you to favour the uninjured side for several weeks causing the hip muscles on that side to become slightly stronger. This in turn can lead to a muscle imbalance and possibly a slightly rotated pelvis which can interfere with your ability to correctly and comfortably perform exercises such as lunges and squats.
Enjoy pain free workouts
Do some exercises cause pinching sensations or mystery joint pain? Some exercises are not as safe when you have certain alignment issues. For example, if you have rounded shoulders and head forward posture (anterior head carriage), it is not advisable to perform overhead pressing movements such as a shoulder press where shoulder impingement may occur.
Don’t let vanity get the best of you
Most people have a tendency to train muscles they can see, or their ‘trouble’ spots. This means they spend a disproportionate amount time on exercises to flatten their stomach, tighten the glutes or for men, to build a bigger chest. In reality, the very exercises people spend so much time on may be perpetuating poor posture by developing muscles that pull them out of alignment.
Most of us are grossly unaware of how out of alignment we are and how sloppy it makes us look. Seeing a photo of yourself is a powerful wake-up call and motivator.
Get your posture assessed
A specialty trained personal trainer can perform a digital photo analysis using a plumb line and a camera to identify any problems with your alignment. A referral to a chiropractor or for X-rays can be included as part of a more comprehensive analysis or when a basic analysis identifies more serious alignment issues.
Stay pain free, love your workouts and get your best body ever!
Do you experience pinching sensations or mystery joint pain during certain exercises? Which ones?
Have you had a posture analysis? What did you learn about your posture?