When we think of posture, many of us think of our mothers nagging us to ‘pull our shoulders back’…well I do any way. But really, the perfect posture is not necessarily that at all. The perfect posture is a state of being in optimal biomechanical alignment from head to toe. It isn’t about squeezing your shoulder blades together or tensing your core muscles. It isn’t about pushing your chest out so far that your lower back starts to ache. The best posture is the one that allows our body to move efficiently, feel its best, and the one that places the least amount of tension on our body.
Posture has the power to make you appear confident, powerful, happy and healthy, but also sad, self—conscious and unhealthy. I realise how ridiculous this may read, but it’s true! See below:
Not only does the poor posture demonstrated on the left & the right look bad, they also predispose you to injury and really make it difficult to activate certain muscles. For eg, on the left you will notice a ‘flatter’ bottom and slightly more prominent belly, rounded shoulders and a pokey chin. This common posture-type makes it particularly difficult to activate glute max, mid back and core during isolated strength exercises, often leads to un-safe and ineffective lifting techniques and pre-disposes you to lower back, knee, neck, mid back injury as well as headaches. This posture is commonly seen in mothers (after feeding and carrying babies), sedentary desk workers and also in those with genetically flexible/lax ligaments and joints.
On the right, you will see the complete opposite. What appears to be a ‘rounder, bigger’ bottom and big breasts or chest is actually an excessive lumbar lordosis (curvature of the lower back) and excessive thoracic extension. This posture is just as inefficient on our musculoskeletal system as the left one. It also often results in lower back pain and injury, difficulty with squat depth, preference for wider sumo stance, difficulty with front loaded squats and lunges, challenges with quadriceps muscle growth and activation, thoracic pain and stiffness, difficulties engaging core muscles and more. This posture is commonly seen in the gym setting, in women who have tried to appear to have a bigger bottom, in some dancers and those who spend a lot of time standing for work.
The perfect posture, demonstrated in the middle, allows for maximum lung capacity and cardiovascular fitness, the best chance at both anterior and posterior chain activation (eg glute AND quads, core, chest AND back), efficiency of biomechanical movement and function, lower risk of injury and looks amazing!
It isn’t always as simple as just fixing your posture. Default/habitual postures like this have been building up over years and years. Which would mean tight and shortened muscles in some spots, lengthened and over active muscles in other places. Postural correction takes time and usually requires the expertise of a physiotherapist or osteopath to help recognise what changes need to be made and how.
Make an appointment with Bri to learn how to optimise your posture and body to its full potential.