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Learn How To:

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Evaluate postural alignment and its role in


back health.
Assess static and dynamic postural
alignment.
Identify common postural imbalances and
design exercises that address common
muscle imbalances associated with postural
dysfunction.
Design and implement a 30 minute Better
Backs training session with little to no
equipment.

It is your power
foundation- a
stacked framework
from your feet
through your legs,
hips, spine and
shoulders to your
head. Lee Parore
(Power Posture).

The neutral position


from which all
movement arises
or the keyboard on
which your brain
orchestrates
movement.

Alignment

that
optimizes the
spines natural
curves, with
each part
adding to
whole body
movement.

Posture or position of
greatest efficiency, around
your center of gravity, with
muscles on all sides,
exerting pull.
A balanced lumbar curve
the position in which the
lumbar spine and the
pelvis are best aligned to
receive the weight of the
trunk with minimal joint
stress.
When lumbar curve is
balanced you transfer
forces between your upper
and lower body with ease.

Powerful movements
depend on every part of
the spine being strong.
The spine coordinates
whole body power via
proper execution of
movements or exercises.
Perfect posture pays
dividends- by reducing
stress/loads which leads to
tension in the antigravity
musculature, degeneration
of weight bearing
structures, less efficient
movement, misalignment
and risk for injury.

More specifically:

Cervical spine gives your


head freedom of
movement,
Thoracic allows rotation
of your torso,
Lumbar spines provides
stability,
Sacrum provides the
base for your spine to sit
on.
Sacroiliac joints act as a
pivotal axes allowing
movement integration
between your legs, pelvis
and spine.

Aging- your body gradually loses its capacity to absorb and


transfer forces however its not aging that influences posture
as does:

Inactivity/sedentary living/reluctance to exercise -leads to


loss of natural movement flow,

Poor postural habits -eventually becomes your structure,

Biomechanical compensation muscle imbalance, adaptive


shortening, muscle weakness & instability within the core,

Body composition increases load, stresses on spinal


structure, leads to spinal deviation,

Workspace ergonomics,

Poor movement technique/execution/training ,

Injury -leads to reduced loading capacity or elasticity,

Others:
*Posture is the single most common cause of painful soft
tissue syndromes affecting the body!

Your core musclescomprised of the abdominal and


back muscles- act like that of a corset to hold everything
in or support and stabilize your lumbar spine.
The result is a slimmer shape, and more importantly, a
spine that is supported against strain, pain and injury.
The core corset also functions: to move the trunk in all
directionsflexion (forward and laterally/sideways),
extension and rotation/twisting.
These core muscles must remain strong throughout our
lives to allow us to continue to move the way our bodies
are meant to as well as help balance on one leg.
To build a functionally strong backa better back for life
you must first address posture in the context of fitness

Fitness professionals should limit their


observations and assessments to general
screenings.
Specific posture and muscle dysfunction
work is limited to addressing strength and
flexibility exercise and muscle re-education
that will help offset poor postural habits
both in sitting and while moving.
Diagnosing and prescribing corrective
exercise may be seen as outside the fitness
professionals scope of practice.

Alignment

May be tight

May be weak

Exercises

Mid back flexion

Upper abdominals

Thoracic extensors
Mid and lower trapezius

Active & passive


thoracic extension

Protracted scapulae

Serratus anterior
Shoulder adductors
Shoulder internal
rotators

Mid & lower trapezius


Rhomboids

Stretch Serratus
Stretch Pectoralis minor

Narrowed intercostal
spaces

Intercostals

Titled scapulae

Pectoralis minor

Lower trapezius

Stretch Pectoralis major


Stretch Latissimus dorsi

Elevated scapulae

Upper trapezius
Levator scapulae

Lower trapezius

Strengthen Middle &


lower trapezius
Stretch Upper traps &
Levator

Extreme neck
extension
(Hyperextension)

Long Cervical
Extensors

Short neck flexors

Strengthen neck flexors

Deep breathing
Multifidus
Quadratus lumborum

Alignment May be
tight

May be
weak

Exercises

Anterior tilt

Abdominals

Stretch hip flexors


Strengthen obliques
for stabilization
Avoid full sit ups

Hip extensors

Strengthen
gluteals

Hip flexors

Hip flexion

Extreme low
Low back
back extension
extensors
(hyperextension)

Stretch low back


extensors

Alignment May be
tight
Posterior Pelvic
tilt

May be
weak

Hamstrings

Exercises
Stretch
hamstrings

Low back
flexion

Back extensors

Strengthen back
extensors

Hip extension

Hip flexors

Strengthen hip
flexors

Alignment

May be tight

May be weak

Exercises

Posterior pelvic tilt

Hamstrings

Hip flexors

Stretch hamstrings
Strengthen hip flexors

Long kyphosis

Upper abdominals

External obliques
Upper back extensors

Strengthen upper back


extensors
Stretch and strengthen
abdominals

Narrowed intercostal
spaces

Intercostals

Deep breathing

Hip extension

Extreme neck extension


(Hyperextension)

Extreme knee extension


(Hyperextension)

Strengthen hip flexors

Upper trapezius
Levator scapulae
High cervical extensors

Neck flexors

Stretch upper traps &


levator, strengthen mid
& lower traps,
strengthen neck flexors

Hamstrings
Calf

Strengthen hamstrings
and calf

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Static Postural Assessment


Dynamic Postural Assessment
Gait analysis
Flexibility assessment
Muscle testing

Once postural alignment is assessed the focus


should be on teaching and training
Neutral Spine

Standing on both feet: front, side and rear


views
Standing on one leg
Sitting supported and unsupported
Kneeling
Supine
Sleeping

Performing:

A push- up

A squat- with arms in front, lifting


overhead

A lunge

Walking

Lifting

5 Stage Program:
1. Develop corrective patterns; build basic
patterns through to complex activity
specific patterns
2. Build whole body and joint stability
3. Increase endurance
4. Build strength and stamina
5. Develop speed, power and agility.

Do

Encourage daily exercise for spinal stability and mobility


even with individuals who have a healthy back,
Include cardiovascular training into back exercise
programsthey are ideal for preventing and managing
back pain,
Carefully evaluate and select exercise dosagelight
weight/load and greater repetition for enhancing
endurance strength,
Focus and encourage quality of movement versus
quantity and,
Increase range of motion to achieve and maintain
neutral spine or ideal posture.
Brace vs. Hollowing technique.

Dont

Impose high loads (of resistance) in an attempt to gain strength


Avoid traditional curl ups that encourage flattening the lower
spine (lumbar region) into the floor by modifying the exercise as
described below or selecting alternative ways to target
abdominals,
Exercise into positions or with loads that produce or increase
pain (even in programs that advocate benefits ie yoga, Pilates),
Perform range of motion exercises early morning if you suffer
low back pain because disk hydration is at its greatest and
compressive forces on the disks will be increased,
Exceed the capacity or tolerance of the individual: reduce the
number of sessions to 2-3 brief sessions per day vs longer
sessions at a time,
Stop exercising altogether but instead modify activity and,
Diagnose or prescribe therapeutic or rehabilitative exercise.

STANDING WITH STAB BALL AT THORACIC SPINE- CHIN GLIDES AND


SCAPULAR RETRACTIONS
SQUATS with progression (WALL SQUAT WITH STABILITY BALL,
FRONT BODY SQUATS)
SEATED ROW/LAT PULLS/SUPINE PULLOVERS/PRONE SHOULDER
FLEXION (neutral spine)
DEADLIFTS
4 POINT KNEELING OR PRONE ALTERNATE ARM AND LEG LIFT
V-SIT with variations
SIDE LYING DOUBLE LEG LIFT/STANDING HIP ABDUCTION (with
variations)
SIDE LYING/SITTING LATERAL TRUNCK FLEXION
PRONE PLANK/HOVER (with scapular stability)
HIP BRIDGE (SUPINE, SIDE) with variations
MODIFIED ABDOMINAL CURL UP with focus on maintaining neutral
spine (balloon) and progressions (SUPINE CROSS CRAWL/AB CYCLE)
PRONE BACK EXTENSION (both lumbar and thoracic regions)
PRONE EXT PRESS UP
SEATED/STANDING SHOULDER PRESS
*Emphasis is on leveling and stabilizing the scapulae &
pelvis.

SUPINE/STANDING STRAIGHT LEG HAMSTRING stretchwith neutral spine


PRONE QUADRICEP stretch (with hip extension and
adduction)
LOW LUNGE with lateral body opposing stretch(psoas
muscle)
PRONE EXTENSION PRESS UP
SUPINE SPINAL ROTATION with alternate upper body
rotation
SUPINE INNER THIGH STRETCH (at the wall)
FIGURE 4 STRETCH (standing or floor)
SEATED OR STANDING ANTERIOR SHOULDER/CHEST (WITH
EXTERNAL ROTATION) stretch
CALF stretch
SITTING LATERAL FLEXION (against wall with hands behind
head)
STANDING ITB/QUADRATUS LUMBORUM
FIGURE 8 STRETCH (upper body)
Stretch big to small, breathe and maintain for 30-60 seconds

Bend and Lift Power-bend your knees, pull navel in,


maintain your lumbar curve, hold your breath and push
with your legs to initiate lifting.

Twisting-

allow your hips to steer, rotate through your


hips, engage your abdominals, twist between your
shoulder blades and move your eyes.

Leg Power-

push the ground with your feet, keep your


knees aligned and engage your abdominals and your butt.

Pushing Power-

keep your elbows in front of your


shoulders, your tongue on the roof of your mouth, engage
your abdominals and push with legs.
Learn correct movement in a slow and meaningful manner,
then add rhythm and speed.
Train specifically for movement that you wish to become
more powerful in performing (increase by 20%).

Integration Push Test

Its all about Whole Body


Integration/Movement
springing and flowing from
your power center.

Eisenman, Rachel, MS Posture 101. ACE Certified


News, February-March, 2007
Hagan, Maureen, FIT-iology- the Study of Fitness In
Action, Volumes I (Lessons 9 & 10) & I (Lesson 24)
Volumes Publishing. Go to www.mohagan.com
Florence Peterson Kendall Muscle Testing and Function
4th Edition- Williams & Wilkins 1993
McGill, Stuart, Low Back Disorders-Evidence Based
Prevention and Rehabilitation, Human Kinetics
McGill, Stuart, Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance,
3rd Edition, Human Kinetics
Parore, Lee, Power Posture- The Foundation of
Strength, Apple Publishing
www.nasm.org for BodyMap to assist postural/body
assessments