As you go about your workout session, one thing that you might want to stop and consider is the posture that you’re utilizing. Far too many people completely overlook posture and how it’s impacting their performance or their everyday lifestyle activities.
Posture can have a profound influence on how you feel, function, as well as your overall health. Including back training exercises in your workout regime to make maintaining proper posture is a must as is making sure that you’re staying consciously aware of your posture throughout the day.
Let’s have a quick peek at some of the important postural related points to keep in mind.
Why Posture Is So Critical
First, let’s stop and consider why maintaining good posture is so critical to success. When most people think about maintaining good posture, the first reason that jumps out at them is simply so that you can look more attractive.
It’s true – standing up straight can take up to 10 pounds of body weight off your frame, so using good posture is an excellent way to improve the way you look.
But there’s far more to it than just that.
Using good posture is going to influence a number of things such as your risk of experiencing lower back pain, your energy levels, as well as your focus and concentration. If you’re constantly in a slouched position all day long and not using good posture, this is going to mean that there’s far less oxygen coming into the body and low levels of oxygen are one of the contributing factors to fatigue development. Therefore to help boost energy levels, proper posture is a must.
This will open up the lungs, allowing you to take more oxygen into the body, which then moves into the muscle as well as the brain cells, enhancing your overall level of energy. In addition to this, by using proper posture and keeping good spinal column alignment, you’ll be able to play any sports or other activities that much better as well. Using good posture will make you more stable on your feet, able to change directions quickly as needed.
Habits That Lead To Poor Posture
Now that you can see why posture is so important, what habit of yours could be leading to poor posture? One of the top bad habits is bad work ergonomics.
If your desk or chair isn’t at quite the right height for you, this can definitely influence your ability to sustain good posture. It would be well worth it to have an expert come in and check how you’re sitting to ensure there are no problems.
In addition, another bad habit that leads to poor posture is little to no activity. The more often you’re sitting down throughout the day, the greater the chances will be that you aren’t using good posture.
Movement allows you to stand upright and decreases the amount of compression stress on the spinal column, which can be in part what leads to poor posture in the first place.
Finally, the last bad habit that could lead to poor posture is over-training your chest muscles without enough focus on the back muscles.
It’s important that you develop good balance between chest and back training because otherwise the chest may become overly strong and start to pull the shoulders forward, creating that rounded appearance that you definitely don’t want.
Add a few more back exercises into the mix and you should be able to offset this.
Fixing Your Bad Posture
After learning the bad habits that can lead to poor posture, what habits should you have in place to help you develop optimal posture?
First, make sure to set a reminder at your desk at work. The working hours are when most people tend to let their posture slide the most, so it’s vital that you’re doing something to constantly remind yourself to sit up straight. A useful app I’d recommend for creating good habits is Strides. Set a timer to go off once per hour and when it does, do a quick check over your posture. Are you sitting up as straight as you could be?
Another way to practice good posture awareness is to stand straight up against a wall and think of pressing your back into the wall. This will help you establish whether you have a strong swayback going on, which could immediately mean there is an excessive amount of strain on your lower back.
If you can fit more than a hand between your lower back and the wall, you need to be working on improving your posture.
You can also do this same exercise on the floor and think about pressing the lower back into the floor as hard as possible by squeezing the stomach and holding it there for a count of 20 seconds.
After which, release and repeat again four or five more times. This will help you gain better control over your postural position and hopefully train your body so that when you’re standing, you automatically utilize better posture overall.
Finally, when doing your workout sessions, make sure that you do have some exercises for the back muscles included. Good back building exercises include bent over rows, pull-ups and lat pull-downs, single arm rows, Supermans, as well as reverse hyper-extensions. These will also strengthen the muscles that are required for keeping good posture, so you’re less likely to fatigue when trying to maintain it.
Also be sure to perform some exercises to strengthen the core as well, as a strong core is also vital to good posture management.
So there you have the key points to remember about sustaining good posture. Make sure that you aren’t overlooking these as you go about your training program. Posture is so often overlooked, but it’s a critical error that could significantly hinder the progress you see in other aspects of your fitness development.