Today's society is cursed with several postural issues, mainly due to being seated for the majority of the day at a desk, car, breakfast table or watching tv.
How long do you spend each day seated compared to standing or moving around? I’m willing to bet most of your time is in a seated position.
Sitting down and constantly rounding your back as you lean forward creates what is called a ‘KYPHOTIC POSTURE’. Which is essentially a rounding of the upper back and can cause a whole bunch of other problems in the body.
Imagine the body as a chain, and the head as the first link in that chain.
The chain follows that first link!
And if the head is out of line due to bad posture it can lead to hip and lower back problems as the rest of the body compensates the forward lean of the upper spine with a backward tilt of the lower spine.
Naturally, if the spine is tilted the wrong way at both ends you end up with WEAKER MUSCLES!
So how do we sort our broken bodies out?
Here are some typical tight/weak spots in the body and ways to sort them out:
PROBLEM: Tight pec minor: This is a tight muscle in your upper chest just under your collar bone.
SOLUTION: Static Stretch: Hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds for each side, see picture – be sure to keep your hand facing upwards and slowly rotate away from the wall whilst you stretch.
PROBLEM: Tight hip flexors: These muscles sit at the front and top of your thigh, they insert into the lower spine and so when tight can cause lower back pain and other issues. But can be simply fixed.
SOLUTION: Hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds for each side, see picture – be sure to keep your front shin vertical, your weight over your hips and sit down low. This is a painful one but possibly THE GREATEST STRETCH EVER!
PROBLEM: Weak upper back: Shoulder health relies heavily on the correct position of the scapula (shoulder blade), kyphotic posture typically results in a forwardly tilted scapula, causing shoulder pain when the arms are raised.
SOLUTION: Strengthen the scapula rotators: To keep the scapula in the correct position it is essential to achieve a strength balance between the muscles which rotate and pull your scapula upwards, and those muscles that pull it downwards. As the scapula is typically tilted forwards/downwards we need to strengthen your upward/backward rotators of the scapula.
PERFORM 3-4 sets of 8-12 press-ups, focusing on a full range of movement. It’s important to arch your back at the top as your arms are straight to promote strength gains in the correct stabilising muscles of the scapula; you can see this arching action in the video. Elevate your hands to make them easier, elevate your feet to increase the challenge. Get some strong shoulders!
PROBLEM: Weak Glutes: As the muscles on the front of the upper spine and the hips become shortened, the muscles on the rear of the body become weakened. So as you should strengthen your shoulders by doing the press-ups as explained above, you must also pay attention to the muscles around the hips. Weak glutes are an extremely common problem, as the glutes control the position of the lower back and control the hips and knees during movement they are an essential muscle to strengthen!
SOLUTION: Strengthen the Glutes! Try the glute bridge as shown in the video to strengthen the glutes! Again do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps and once you can perform them with good technique AND under strict control, hold some weight on your waist to increase the activation.
BETTER POSTURE = STRONGER MUSCLES
Throw all of the above into your warm-up for now then add the strength movements into your program to build on the strength AND balance of your body and you will be UNSTOPPABLE!
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