5/31/2009

Posture and Movement Assessments

I have a confession to make. From the minute I first see you, I am watching your posture and the way that you move and looking for way to improve you. Are your feet turned out? Do your shoulders round? Or are they elevated? Is your head forward? Does your back arch? Do your knees move in our out? If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you have muscular or structural imbalances that need to be addressed in your exercise program. In many cases, certain exercises should be avoided to minimize risk of injury, and other exercises should be included to help correct the imbalance. For example, someone with rounded shoulders should avoid overhead shoulder exercises and strengthen the muscles that pull the shoulders back.

Posture can be addressed statically, basically in a stationary position, and dynamically, while moving. In addition to casual observations of movement, several assessments allow us to do a more focused evaluation. Here are two of the most common:

Overhead Squat Assessment: This consists of a squat with arms held above the head. Here, I'm looking for whether the heels lift, feet turn out, knees move in/out, low back arches or rounds, or the body leans forward.

Single Leg Squat Assessment: In the single leg squat assessment, look for whether the feel flatten, knees move in or out, or the hip shifts. These observations indicate imbalances in the calves, thigh muscles, back, core and shoulders that should be addressed in training.