This week's exercise of the week is not an exercise per se, but rather, a drill that helps us to determine which exercises we might prescribe to a client.
The first step to starting training with us is to do a New Client Assessment. Whether in person or online is your preference for our initial meeting, we will either ask you to do this "drill" for us in the gym, or we will send you this video instructing you what to capture for the video version of the assessment for us.
I love the simplicity of the Standing Posture drill, because it takes seconds to capture, a few minutes to analyze and explain, but it is one of the most valuable tools for starting an individualized training program, in our opinions.
Coaching cues and notes: 1. Start facing the camera in a relaxed standing posture
2. Rotate 90 degrees and pause in each camera view for a few seconds.
3. The tendencies of the client will likely appear in one or more angles of these screen shots. The tendencies that appear will be based on movement patterns or positions that the client assumes frequently, or will reveal things that are tight, or others that are lacking the strength to pull them out of the "faulty" patterns.
Some common problems that we see are
A) Excessive anterior pelvic tilt.
Why is this a problem? When your resting posture involves an anterior pelvic tilt (if the pelvis was a bowl, the bowl is tilted to the front spilling water out in front of you), certain muscles are chronically at their shortest position, and others are chronically stretched in their longest position. Understanding muscle physiology and anatomy would tell you that muscles are their strongest in the mid range of their length, not at their shortest or longest. If we can get you to assume a more neutral muscle length in the hips and spine to alleviate the pelvic tilt, we can often also solve some underlying muscle imbalances that help with pain and performance alike.
B) An externally rotated femur position in resting.
Why is this a problem? Again, similar to the anterior pelvic tilt, externally rotated legs and feet (you would notice this by looking down and toes turning outwards instead of forwards when you are in a resting posture) would indicate imbalance to us. The anatomy of the hip is such that when the legs externally rotate, certain muscles are shortened (glutes for example), and others are lengthened. Chronically, this can be a poor strategy for getting a strong, balanced muscle development, and for injury prevention!
C) Kyphosis in the upper back and a forward head posture.
Kyphosis in the upper back would looks like a hunch back in the upper spine below the neck. Often, kyphosis and a forward head posture are seen together in a resting posture with those who work at desk jobs, aren't active, or who hunch a lot. The forward head posture is an adaptation to the hunch in the back, as the body attempts to adjust the visual field to be forward when someone is chronically hunched, to balance the weight forward. Unfortunately, no positions held chronically are good for you, but rather the variability in postures and the ability to move in and out of each joint's available range, with control, is more desirable for longevity.
If you would like to stay up-to-date and get notified when future blog posts come out, please click "Log In" at the top of the page, and you will be part of the Vital notification crowd!