Last week I talked about bracing. Bracing aligns your body properly. Thus, bracing is a part of maintaining good posture. Most of the time we don’t think about our posture until we hear someone say “stand up straight” or “pull your shoulders back”. I do this often. 🙂 Good posture is important: You feel more confident, you are at less risk for injury because your body is properly aligned, emotionally you feel better, and your muscles work better together! What does this “good posture” look like?
Good posture is aligning your body over your feet. Let me explain. Standing with your feet hip width apart, slight bend in your knees, you will squeeze your glutes, which will tilt your pelvis. This stabilizes your pelvis over your feet. Tighten your core by bracing. Lift your rib cage up, straighten your back, and pull your shoulders back and down. This stabilizes your upper body over your pelvis and lower body. Pull your head back slightly so that your chin is parallel to the floor and your ears are in line with your shoulders. Now breathe! You are standing in good posture!!
Your posture says a lot about you. It can be an indicator of health, how you feel, how you communicate (or don’t), and how you look. Slouching may indicate poor self esteem, fatigue, tight hamstrings or chest muscles, and weak back muscles. A belly that sticks out often can indicate weak core muscles, tight lats, or a heart condition. Standing with one foot pointed outward suggests a weak hip muscle. One shoulder higher than the other can suggest muscle imbalance. An ideal posture is self confident, typically muscles are healthy and strong, and the person is generally open to new ideas. Your posture is also related to your body language and how you communicate with others. Check out this interview by Heather Post, Body Language Expert.
The exercises we do in class can help support ideal posture. Most exercise we do with the sandbags are working your whole body and your core. Specific exercises for the back include the row, lat pull down, pull up, bent over row, and deadlift. Although we do not hold stretches in class, we increase flexibility by increasing our range of motion in exercises. This is dynamic stretching. Although not a class favorite, reptile crawling or forward crawl on the ladder is a great hip opener. Push up kick-thrus are great for your upper body and core. As we get into using the TRX, you will realize that you have some weak links in your body. The more we challenge your muscles to work under different circumstances, the more well rounded your strength will be. Thus, your posture improves. Now, that’s not to say that if you sit all day for work that just practicing during class will fix everything. It will help, but you will have to be mindful, all the time, about your proper body alignment.
So, tuck your pelvis, tighten your glutes, squeeze your core, lift your ribcage, straighten your back, pull your shoulders back, and breathe. You will now be more mindful of you posture. 🙂