With our seminar on upper body strengthening taking place this week, I wanted to take this time to touch upon a topic that is very important for all standing exercises: proper posture. I think it is safe to say that a great deal of us demonstrate poor posture throughout the day, regardless of whether we spend the majority of our day on our feet or behind a desk. Posture becomes increasingly important when performing strengthening exercises, especially for the upper extremities.
Why is posture important during exercise?
Posture is extremely important to ensure that the musculature of the upper extremities is working efficiently and through a full range of motion. Try standing up and assuming good posture (think of standing as tall as you possibly can), and raise your arm overhead. Next, slump into bad posture and try to raise your arm overhead once again. You will likely notice that you have more restricted shoulder movement when you are slumped as opposed to when in good alignment. You may have also noticed some shoulder discomfort as the shoulder reaches maximum elevation when slumped.
When performing exercise with poor posture you not only run the risk of not getting the most out of your exercise, you also predispose yourself to injury. Exercising with poor posture can cause shoulder pain due to impingement, back and neck pain due to loading a spine that is not in proper alignment, or muscle strain due to overloading tissue that is not performing optimally. Any risk that may arise when exercising with poor posture can be markedly increased as the resistance you are using increases.
How do we ensure that we are maintaining proper posture?
There are a few cues that we can use to make sure that you are demonstrating proper standing posture. First, think “stand tall.” Stand up trying to make yourself as tall as you possibly can while looking straight ahead. Next, pull your shoulder blades back almost as if you are trying to open up your chest. This may feel uncomfortable at first; however, it will feel better as you get used to standing in this fashion and the musculature associated with maintaining this position gets stronger.
Once you have assumed this position, you can visually assess your posture. From a side view, your ears should line up with the middle of your shoulders, your shoulders should be in line with your hips, and there should be a slight arch in your lower back. If your shoulders and shoulder blades are in proper alignment, your thumbs should be facing the forward and should not be turned inward or outward. If all of the above criteria is met, you will be standing with proper posture. This posture can and should be maintained throughout all upper extremity exercises to promote optimal strengthening and avoid injury!
Join us this upcoming week for the next installment of our wellness series: Upper Body Strengthening! We will review safe and effective exercises aimed towards developing a healthy and strong upper body. Dates, times, and locations for each seminar are listed below, see you there!
The Upper Body Strength Seminar will take place:
Wednesday, February 20th at 5:00pm in our Mineola Office with Nicole Strk
Friday, February 22nd at 5:00pm in our Bethpage Office with Clara Vargas
Contact us at (516) 746-6350 or firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!