In this section you will find the following:
*Corrective exercise routines to relieve pain and restore function,
specified by area of pain and/or postural imbalance
*Foundational information regarding your body's alignment and
your alignment's relation to pain, function & athleticism.
The goal of this information is to enable you to live a pain free, active life and to provide the information necessary to reach your full athletic potential.
Biomechanic Optimization : Truly Yoga
Injury, poor flexibility, stiffness, musclo-skeletal pain, spinal degeneration, poor/imbalanced muscular development, nerve impingement and impaired athletic performance are all products of a inefficient movement patterns and deficient, learned postural patterns.
Fortunately, your body is highly responsive to stimulus and can learn how to move and hold itself appropriately to relieve pain, increase flexibility, ease of movement, stimulate well proportioned, toned musculature and improve athleticism.
Correcting body alignment is a chief aim of many health/fitness disciplines including yoga, pilates, physical therapy and chiropractics. The approach to correcting your body alignment and movement patterns (biomechanic optimization) presented here is, essential, a form of yoga.
"Yoga" literally means "union, yoking" or "to join" together. In this sense, what is presented here is a form of yoga, based on The Egoscue Method. The primary principle of The Egoscue Method is that the body works as a unit. Corrective exercise can be used to coordinate our limbs and core so that when an individual moves or stands or holds a pose, the individual's bodyparts move in synergy, such that weight, force, stress and work is distributed appropriately and joints stay within their functionally viable ranges of motion.
The Foundation Routine
The video below is an alignment routine that, after 7 years as an exercise therapist, I've found works to correct the mass majority of general postural imbalances. As such it is a great routine to use as daily practice to keep good body alignment and/or as a warm up routine for your workout. Enjoy!
When movement patterns are corrected through well chosen exercises there is a corresponding shift in the individual's standing posture. Without thinking about it, an individual who just performed a series of well selected corrective exercises will automatically stand with "better" posture.
But what is "better" posture? And what makes it "better"?
Ideal posture exhibits the following characteristics...
From the Front View:
- The ears, shoulders and hips are horizontally level
- The body can be divided precisely in half by a vertical plum line
- The arms hang freely along the side of the body and the palms are perpendicular such
that only the thumb and index finger are visible from the front view
- The weight is distributed evenly on both sides of the body and evenly throughout the
sole of the foot inside to out and heel to toe
Ideal Posture (Front View)
A vertical plum line runs through the center of the "load points" -
Load Points: Head, Shoulder, Hip, Knee & Ankle, or more specifically:
- Slightly behind the crown of the head
(slightly posterior to the apex of the coronal structure)
- Through the center of the ear
(through the external auditory meatus)
- Midway through the shoulder
- Through the bodies of the lumbar vertebrae
- Through the tip of the sacrum (through the sacral promontory)
- Slightly behind (posterior to) the center of the hip joint
- Slightly in front of (anterior to) the axis of the knee joint
- Slightly anterior to the boney protrusion of the side of the ankle
(anterior to lateral malleolus)
Ideal Posture (Side View)
Spine & Pelvis
- The spine should have a gentle "S-curve", wherein the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) are in a slight extension (arching), while the upper back (thoracic spine) and tailbone (sacrum) are in slight flexion (rounding)
- The pelvis should be "level", which means the boney landmarks of the A.S.I.S. and the P.S.I.S. (the anterior superior iliac spine and the posterior superior iliac spine) should align level horizontally.
Neutral spine is the name for posture that maintains the three normal curves in your spine—one in your neck, one in your upper back, and one in your lower back. These three curves help absorb stress and impact on your body, while you are lying, sitting or standing still and when you move.
Common Postural Imbalances
The human body is designed to work with a specific alignment. Correct postural alignment allows optimal functioning of our bodies.
(as defined for our training purposes):
Balance: weight distribution between the left & right sides of the body
Dynamic Tension: weight distribution between the front and back of the body
Flexion & Extension:
Flexion is a position that is made possible by the joint angle decreasing. The skeletal (bones, cartilage, and ligaments, muscles and tendons work together to move the joint into a "flexed" position. For example the elbow is flexed when the hand is brought closer to the shoulder. The trunk may be flexed toward the legs or the neck to the chest.
Extension, or straightening, is the opposite of flexion. Flexion decreases the angle between the bones of the limb at a joint, and extension increases it. Note that specific flexion activities may occur only along the sagittal plane, i.e. from the forward to backward direction, and not side-to-side direction, which is abduction:
Abduction: is a movement which draws a limb away from the median (Sagittal) plane of the body. It is thus opposed to adduction.
Adduction: is a movement which brings a part of the anatomy closer to the middle (Sagittal plane) of the body.
Planes of the body
Sagittal Plane: divides the body in half down the midline from the front view
Frontal (or Coronal) Plane: divides the body in half down the midline from the side view
Transverse Plane: divides the body in half from top to bottom.