The Ultimate Guide to Good Posture

If you take your training seriously, you should know how important good posture is for your technique and form with exercise.

standing-postureWhat is ‘Good Posture’?… Good posture is when your body is aligned and balanced with your centre of gravity. One reason why good posture is so important is that it allows for the correct recruitment patterns of your muscles, especially in big compound lifts which therefore leads to maximum performance.

Bad posture on the other hand throws out this alignment, which makes our muscles tighter and more injury prone. This is due to the cross dominance between the agonist (the contracting muscle) and the antagonist (the relaxing muscle). We should always be striving to improve not only our physiques but our structural integrity as well because it is crucial to having a fully functional body.

So how do we do this? I hear you guys ask…

The first thing you must do is to always be conscious of your heads position in relation to your centre. You would be surprised how heavy your head actually weighs; on average it is 8.6kgs! Which is why this is such an important thing to be mindful of. Bad posture is commonly identified by ‘forward head’ which is when your ears sit in front of your shoulders and hips. Once a tilt applies to your head the force of gravity acts on your spine causing stress which can commonly be felt through your lower back, headaches and stiff necks. All common reasons why our training tends to suffer at times.

To fix this problem, imagine you are a puppet on a string… Always act to stay tall when standing, moving and sitting, and try to align your ears with your shoulders and hips keeping in mind that the good posture god is up there holding you upright with the string attached to your head.

standing-posture1Secondly you need to increase the strength of your Rhomboids which are made up of four muscles in your back and are mainly responsible for the retraction of your scapula (shoulder blades).  The majority of our lives these days are occupied with activities that mainly utilise our chest and shoulders. If you think about all the manual tasks you perform, how often do you push away from the body, or elevate your shoulders to get something infant of you or above your head?

Now compare that to when you are required to retract your shoulder blades and use strength to pull something into the body? Now you can start to see the imbalance between these too opposing  activities yeah? They are like the two faces of a coin, both necessary and should exist in balance. Focusing your strength training on compound rows with a variety of resistance in conjunction with avoiding overtraining chest and shoulders will quickly alleviate this imbalance.

Finally you should aim to have a strong and functional core. Core strength acts like a big compression bandage that wraps around your body and provides internal pressure which stabilises your internal organs and tissues to protect them from injury. The stronger your core is, the better your posture will be. You will feel a huge difference in your posture with consistent core training.

franco_columbo1BUT! Before you go racing into doing 100 sit-ups a day, your core is like a corset that wraps around the entire body. It therefore requires both anterior (front) and posterior (rear) work. The absolute best way to train your core is to activate it during squats, deadlifts, pull-ups (assisted or unassisted) as well as benchpress & push-ups. Doing this will increase the strength of your core and engage maximum growth hormone release at the same time. Try doing all those exercises as part of a giant strength circuit twice a week.

Take away points! Posture is a conscious effort you MUST always remind yourself to walk tall, sit tall, and always train with good spinal alignment. These are all small efforts that if you can be mindful of everyday, will create a massive difference in not only your performance levels but your structural health as well. After a little while it will become sub-conscious, however until then whenever you are in the car, on the phone or sitting at your desk at work just remind yourself about good posture and think about all the benefits we have just talked about. Not only will you look good, you’ll feel good and your body will be far better off for it.

Stand tall and act with confidence guys!

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