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Proper Posture: The Key to Unlocking Your Athletic Prowess

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Proper Posture: The Key to Unlocking Your Athletic Prowess

When you work out, whether it’s at the gym or playing a sport or competing to show off some athletic skill, you want to be the best, the most strongest, the most powerful. But if that goal continually seems out of reach, you might have fallen victim to a common villain: bad posture.

Most people have jobs that promote bad posture (sitting at a desk hunched over a computer for hours on end throws off your alignment) and don’t make a point of taking regular breaks to move around and undo the damage to their alignment. But poor posture not only reduces your power at the gym, it brings along a whole host of further health problems: lower back problems, shoulder impingement, rotator cuff problems, labrum tears, hip flexor tendonitis, even knee and ankle issues! So fix your posture and you will fix your dead lifts and your high medical bills and chronic pains.

Proper Alignment Means Proper Movement

When your posture is misaligned for a long period of time, your muscles adjust and adapt to support the misalignment. Suddenly the bad posture is your natural way of sitting and standing and moving! As all your action is connected, having incorrect posture directly results in decreased physical and athletic performance, thanks to some common areas.

Hips

Sitting down for long periods of time shortens your hip flexors and reduces their mobility. Your hip flexors have changed from supporting movement and activity to supporting sitting and inactivity. Full hip extension is the base of most powerful athletic movements, but now those muscles aren’t firing as well as they could—and should—be.

Pelvis

Related to the hip flexors being shortened, the tilt of your pelvis is thrown off by sitting for so many hours and reduced hip extension. This pelvic position is called anterior pelvic tilt and creates further problems with your hips, as well as lengthens your abdominal muscles in such a way as to reduce your ability to control and stabilize your core muscles. This triplet of steps (shortened hip flexors leading to anterior pelvic tilt leading to reduced abdominal strength) is what causes much of that lumbar back pain you are probably experiencing.

Shoulders

Leaning forward over a keyboard draws your shoulders forward into a sort of rounded position. Called passive internal rotation, when your shoulders stay in this position for extended periods of time, they suffer the same fate as your hip flexors. Soon those muscles have shortened and actually make movements that require full range of shoulder movements become dangerous and put you at high risk for shoulder injury. Not doing overhead presses? You still may find yourself with neck and upper back pain because your shoulder muscles are weakened.

How to Fix Your Posture

First step is to follow the below steps to find your correct posture, and the second step is to force yourself to maintain it! After some time of consciously practicing correct posture, you will find yourself doing it naturally. Then certain gym exercises like kettle balls or dead lifts further ingrain in your muscles a natural and healthy posture.

Steps to Finding Correct Posture
1. Stand up.
2. Flex your glutes (this will counteract the anterior pelvic tilt).
3. Flex your abs just enough to maintain that proper pelvic position.
  1. Reach your head to the ceiling as if someone had a string running through the center of your body and was pulling up.
    1. Twist your thumbs out so that your shoulders blades reach towards each other.
  2. Relax your arms and maintain that shoulder position with the muscles in your upper back.

Once you have fixed your posture, you open up a world of physical movement and power that you’ve always wanted but have been unable to achieve. You may also find that you can spend more time in the gym and being physically active because you are injured less and have less chronic pain. Good posture is your body’s magic key!

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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