Let’s face it, we as a society do not live the labour-intensive life that we used to.
Today, it is not uncommon to see individuals spending up to 12 hours a day sitting and/or hunched over a screen – completely foreign to the lifestyle we had even 50 years ago! It’s hard to blame us though, with so much information and necessity at our finger-tips!
Whilst many see all this sitting and hunching as necessary, others see it as a detriment.
One bi-product of such a lifestyle is poor posture. Sitting down and hunched over for long periods of time leads to lordotic and kyphotic postures and ultimately back, shoulder and neck pain – among other issues!
What is Lordosis and Kyphosis?
Lordosis is defined as an excessive extension of the lumber (lower) spine – think the classic “duck-bum” position. Lordosis is relatively synonymous with the term “Lower Crossed Syndrome”. Whilst, Kyphosis, is defined as an excessive flexion of the thoracic (mid-upper back) spine – think of ol’ mate Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre dame. Kyphosis is relatively synonymous with the term “Upper Crossed Syndrome”.
These “syndromes” serve as a beautiful and simple blueprint which we can use to improve our posture. So many Physical Therapists preach to always start with the spine in regards to posture, and applying a fix to these 2 areas we’ll do a vast majority of the required work.
Oh yeah, and it’s been estimated that around 70 – 80% of the population exhibits these 2 issues to some extent. So, listen up!
- Upper Crossed Syndrome = Tight chest (pecs) and upper traps/levator scapulae causing inhibition of cervical flexors and rhomboids/lower trapezius.
- Lower Crossed Syndrome = Tight hip flexors (psoas/rectus femorus) and lumbar extensors (low back muscles) causing inhibition of the glutes/hamstrings and abdominals.
As Coaches, we’ve seen these issues on the daily, with most clients representing both issues to some extent. In lifting terms, these issues cause “force leakage” in the kinetic chain – meaning you’ll lose force through most full-body exercises and movements, which is then placed on joints which don’t need it… then here come the injuries!
Correcting postural issues and integrating the correct posture and muscle activation during lifting is crucial, and a main aspect of the role of a Personal Trainer. If done incorrectly
Here is your blueprint for fixing these issues:
- Release/stretch: Pectorals and upper traps
- Activate: Rhomboids and lower traps
- Release/stretch: Lower back and hip flexors
- Activate: Glutes and abdominals
Make this the FIRST thing you do when you get to gym for a month and post back to let us know how much better you feel!
P.S. When completing this sort of work, make sure to go slow, focus on the muscle being contracted and really develop the mind-to-muscle connection.