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Strengthen Your Core

Posture

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Updated April 18, 2014

If you've ever worked with a trainer or used an exercise video, you've probably heard the phrase 'proper form.' Proper form usually refers to your posture as you're doing an exercise. There are certain things you can do all day and while lifting to reduce your chances of injury.

Proper Posture

When standing, proper posture involves aligning body in alignment so that the pull of gravity is evenly distributed. Good posture includes:

  • A straight line from your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles
  • Head is centered
  • Shoulders, hips and knees are of equal height

Some of the most common posture mistakes include:

  • forward head
  • rounded shoulders
  • arched lower back
  • excessive anterior pelvic tilt (protruding backside)
  • excessive posterior pelvic tilt (protruding abdomen/pelvis)

Test Your Posture

To figure out if you have good posture, take the following posture tests.

The Wall Test - Stand with the back of your head touching the wall and your heels six inches from the baseboard. With your backside touching the wall, stick your hand between your lower back and the wall, and then between your neck and the wall. If you can get within an inch or two at the low back and two inches at the neck, you are close to having excellent posture.

The Mirror Test - Stand facing a full length mirror and check to see if:

  1. Your head is straight
  2. Your shoulders are level
  3. Your hips are level
  4. Your kneecaps face the front
  5. Your ankles are straight

Now look at yourself from the side (or have someone else check you out) and look for the following:

  1. Your head is straight rather than slumped forwards or backwards
  2. Chin is parallel to the floor
  3. Shoulders are in line with ears
  4. Knees are straight
  5. Slight forward curve to your lower back

What You Can Do for Better Posture

Once you determine your posture deviations, you can start working on them. Your first step is to be aware of your posture throughout the day; while standing, sitting at work, sitting in your car. Ask yourself if you're keeping everything in neutral alignment?

Depending on your problems, there are things you can do to help correct your posture. For example, if you have a forward head and rounded shoulders, you probably have tight chest muscles and loose upper back muscles. Try some corrective stretching for the chest area and tighten the upper back muscles with a reverse fly or back extension. If you have an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, corrective stretching should be done for the hips and back and strengthening exercises should be done for the lower body and abdominals.

Next page
Core Exercises On the Ball Page 1, 2, 3

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