What Really Is “Correct Posture”?

You may be aware that maintaining a correct posture during any physical activity helps to prevent injury. BUT did you know that it also is the foundation for efficient movement, which allows you to move faster, throw farther and perform better!!! Learn more about the importance of postural alignment by reading about “Performance Posture,” my key to safe effective movement, by reading on……

Picture: Athletic Performance Posture position

Correct spinal posture and pelvic alignment has long been discussed as a critical aspect to preventing injury. But it is just as important for generating biomechanically efficient movement which in turn makes you perform at a significantly higher level in what ever activity you choose.

So, what is correct posture?

This age old question really has only one answer – Performance Posture. The definition I have adapted is “the position of the spine and pelvis that stresses all tissue in proportion to their mechanical strength evenly so that a balance of force occurs through the entire body. It is the foundation for all biomechanically correct movement to occur.” For example, when the lower back is placed in the neutral position the pressure is distributed evenly throughout the entire disc thus not over stressing either the front or back of the disc only – as with poor posture.

Picture: Close-up Lumbar Neutral Shot

The key to understanding Performance Posture stems from the coordination of movement between the pelvis and the upper (thoracic) spine. The pelvis and low back must be positioned so that there is a slight arch to low back curve. A flat spine as talked about in many exercise methods in my opinion and based on biomechanical models puts too much stress on the back of the disc and puts the muscles of your low back at a mechanical disadvantage. In some cases the flat back position even turns the lower back muscles off, leaving you “hanging on your ligaments” and very exposed to injury.
In most individuals, to assume this position, you must engage the lower back muscles (back extensors) to set the spine in a neutral Performance Posture position. Many different exercise methods then talk about engaging the abdominals to further protect the spine. Based on my experience and knowledge of spinal mechanics this is not something I venture to teach – although it might keep my physical therapy business going!!! We will discuss this at length in an upcoming blog article.

Picture: Close up of Thuck

After you position the lower back and pelvis, next you must position your upper back by “lifting your collarbones” Usually when clients try this the first time they arch their head back to far which causes another imbalance through the neck (cervical spine) To avoid this I ask them to perform what I call a “Thuck” – otherwise know as a thoracic chin tuck. When the collarbones are lifted, the chin must be dropped down and back slightly to stay “long” in the neck to maintain a neutral curve in the neck.

Try Performance Posture when you exercise, play sport or perform any physical activity and you will see how much more easily you move and how much better your spine and arms feel!

To learn more about posture see my DVD “Performance Posture” for details.

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