Bring Your Posture Out Of Pronation and Back Into Extension!
Defining extension and pronation in posture terms; Think of a 100metre sprint athlete at the race blocks all tucked up (pronated into the foetal position) and then he/she sets off and as they set off they go through a sequence of extension until the are totally upright. This happens with our posture through bad habits whether it be the way we sit, or the way we train i.e. too much bench pressing etc. We bring the body into a pronated position which causes a rounding of the shoulders. When we constantly keep pushing ourselves into this position it can cause shoulder, neck and upper back issues issues as well as the postural muscles in the upper back become long and weak and the pectoral muscles at the front become short and tight. The majority of the nation need to strengthen their postural muscles and not stretch them out! Of course all of this can be reversed by the following stretches and strengthening exercises.
Firstly I always believe that we should stretch the short and tight muscles for a few weeks before we start to strengthen the long and weak muscles.
Simply use a door frame, hold it with both ands or one as illustrated and walk/lean your body forwards so you can feel the stretch. Hold this lightly for 15 seconds and then increase the stretch further for another 15seconds into a moderate intensity stretch. Not stretch should be painful, if it is your stretching it too far and need to back off with the intensity of the stretch. You can do this up to 3 times a day.
Pec Minor Release
To further increase your Pec Minor flexibility you can use a release technique using a tennis ball or a massage ball of some kind. To do this all you need to do is place this in between the nipple and the shoulder and squash it up against a wall or on the floor and work that ball around that area in a scratching / shuffling motion when applying pressure. Do this 3-4 times and then stretch.
Pec Minor Stretch
Again with the use of a door frame follow as above but with a 90 degree bend in the arm to target that Pec Minor.
Strengthen rhomboids and trapezius to help correct rounded shoulders.
Starting Position: Lie face down (prone) with arms fully extended 45° away from the body with palms down.
- From the starting position, draw in your abdominal muscles and tighten glutes.
- Lift your chest off ground, from your humerus (upper arm bone) rotate the arms out and down toward your hips. Keep your chin tucked into your chest.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Prone Cobra Starting Position:** **Prone Cobra Movement:
Pull the bar to your upper abs (2 seconds). Pause 2 seconds, then slowly lower (2 seconds) the bar back to the starting position. 2-4 sets, 8-10 reps taking 40-60 seconds per set!
- Suck in your belly button in towards your spine to activate your core muscles and protect your lower back.
- View your posture in the mirror; Back in a neutral position, neck in line with spine, chest open
- Squeeze the shoulder blades together and hold for a good 2 seconds
- Its more about the technique than the weight!
- Vary your grip to challenge your muscles differently i.e. use an underhand grip so the exercise doesn’t become repetitive for your muscles. Benefits of Postural Correction
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.