Whether you live a sedentary lifestyle, an active one, or a healthy balance of the two, injury prevention comes down to one thing: posture. With spring upon us and summer just around the corner, many of us will be spending more time outside partaking in many different activities. To help keep our bodies healthy, a little bit of postural awareness will go a long way to help keep injuries at bay with the increase of physical activity in the months to come. Even if you’re a couch potato, postural awareness will enforce better biomechanics when you’re on that epic Netflix binge.
To understand posture, we must start with our Center of gravity. Our Center of gravity can be found at S2: roughly our mid-sacrum (just below the dimples in your backside). When our Center of gravity gets pulled out of alignment, our entire body will compensate to restore that balance. This is when you start to see excess curves in the lower and midback, the shoulders rounding forward, and our head sitting forward on our neck. To combat this we must first start with balancing the pelvis, and then travel up the spine.
Here are 3 easy exercises that will help restore balance and encourage our bodies back towards a more neutral posture:
1- Stretch the hipflexors (iliopsoas)
Any time we sit, our hipflexors are in a shortened position. Over time they will tighten and pull the pelvis forward into an anterior rotation, so we must first stretch them out.
Put a cushion under the knee, lunge forward so knee is 90* over ankle, reach for the sky with your arm, then activate the Glutes by squeezing your buns together
2- Strengthen Glute Max/encourage posterior pelvic rotation
With that anterior rotation, the Glute Max cannot fire properly and over time will weaken, so we must strengthen it and encourage posterior rotation to rebalance the pelvis.
Lay on your back with arms at the side and knees bent, create a straight line/plank with your body from knees to your mid back, use your Glutes to push your pelvis up leading by bringing your tailbone up to the ceiling, hold and slowly lower
3- Retract and Depress the shoulder blades (scapulas)
As that imbalance travels up the chain, our shoulders slump forward, so we must retract and depress them to counter that forward rotation.
Open up the chest and squeeze your shoulders tight together, hold 8 seconds, then maintain that squeeze and try to drop them down towards your pelvis, hold another 8 seconds and relax