Today’s post was written just for Framework Personal Training by Reno chiropractor Dr. Lynelle McSweeney. Learn more about the value of chiropractic care – and how it can benefit your efforts in the gym – on her website.
How would you like to quickly improve your strength, performance, reduce risk of injury and optimize health? And how would you like to do it all just by emphasizing one simple, powerful concept?
Sound too good to be true?
Good news. There really is one thing that can provide all of these benefits. This simple change can make a huge difference to your physical health.
And it’s all related to your posture.
Improving your posture is one of the most powerful ways to improve a long list of conditions and ailments – everything from improving current to preventing future injuries, boosting strength, reducing pain, and improving performance.
For over 15 years, I have focused my business on helping athletes and non-athletes alike improve all aspects of their physical being. I do this through pain management, structural misalignments, nutrition and posture management.
How many times have chronic injuries kept you on the sideline? How often has pain prevented you from performing to your full potential? There’s a good chance that faulty posture may have been a key contributing factor. Proper posture, or neutral alignment, is a cornerstone of optimal performance for not only your athletic adventures but your day-to-day routine, too.
The body functions best when its segments are in a balanced, neutral alignment. The nerves are unobstructed, the blood flows more efficiently, and the muscles work to their full potential. This position also relieves stress on joints and the skeletal structure.
In contrast, poor posture is biomechanically inefficient and can contribute to poor performance, increasing fatigue and the potential for injury during activity. For example, holding a bowling ball out at arm length is much more difficult than holding it in close to the body.
What are the characteristics of neutral posture? When assessing alignment, there are a few key points.
From the front:
- The point between the eyes should line up vertically with the chin, breastbone, belly button, mid-pelvic area and midpoint between the knees and ankles.
- The height of the eyes, ears, shoulders, hips and knees should be level.
From the side:
- There should be three natural curves in the spine, slightly forward at the neck and lower back, and slightly backward at the upper back.
- The ears should be aligned vertically over the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankle.
One of the most prevalent posture conditions is AHC (anterior head carriage).
In healthy posture, the head is carried upright and level, balancing effortlessly on the body, with the ear aligned directly over the shoulder joint when viewed from the side. Since the human head is approximately the same size and weight as a bowling ball, moving it forward from its balance position allows gravity to take effect, pulling the head toward the floor.
When the head is held forward for extended periods of time, the muscles in the neck and upper back are placed under constant tension, causing them to shorten and lose elasticity.
During dynamic activity, AHC can inhibit performance and contribute to serious spinal and muscle injuries. Anterior head carriage will cause headaches, tight shoulders, weak muscles, and stress on bones/joints.
Fortunately, it is usually possible to make improvements in head carriage through simple chiropractic adjustments and proactive exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper torso.
Good posture equates to better performance and less injury – a winning combination.
Here’s something you can try at home right now to check your posture.
- Stand with your back against a wall, heels 2-4 inches away, with hips, shoulder blades and back of the head all touching the wall.
- If you need to tilt your head back or lift your chin to allow for contact to the wall, this indicates imbalance in the neck and upper spine.
- The space present between the lower back and the wall should measure about one to two inches, or about the thickness of a flat hand. A larger gap can indicate anterior pelvic tilt, and the absence of a gap may indicate posterior pelvic tilt.
I welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about chiropractic and how it may benefit your efforts with the trainers at Framework. Thanks for reading!