Why Posture is Important

Maintaining a good posture is vital to your overall health. Unknown to many, a good posture is just as essential as a healthy diet, sleeping comfortably and exercising. It ensures that your body is well poised to undertake daily tasks with more vigour and energy, all the while keeping away fatigue. It’s a core pillar to your overall physical health.

So then, what is posture, and how can one maintain it? Posture is basically the position we hold our bodies in while standing, seating and even when lying down. A good posture ensures that our entire body is symmetrically aligned and the muscle tension is just about right. And maintaining a good posture ought to be fairly easy.

Why Maintain A Good Posture?

Sustaining a good posture is a big part of your health. It ensures that your bones are well aligned with the rest of the body, while the tension in your muscles and ligaments is properly distributed. More so, it keeps the body parts in their rightful positions with minimal stress. This decreases the risk of injury not only throughout the day but during our workouts to.

  • Muscles will coordinate more-efficiently, ensuring the body utilises less energy, thus eliminating muscle fatigue. This allows one to undertake tasks for longer periods with minimal exhaustion.
  • Holds the spine in place, which is essential in maintaining a good posture. With less stress on the ligaments, coupled with aligned spinal joints, the possibility of injury is greatly minimised.
  • Aids in preventing back and muscular pain, all which are signs of a poorly relaxed body. Thus eliminating a myriad of other ailments that may accompany such issues.
  • Decreases the abnormal wearing of joints by keeping them and the bones properly aligned. By ensuring our muscles are used correctly and that no wear or tear occurs, chronic risks like arthritis are duly eliminated.

What Is Good Posture?

Sustaining a good posture should not be taken to be a massive mental task or a constant bother. In fact, the body is designed to maintain normal posture unconsciously via certain muscles. If you have to think about it you haven’t yet trained your body well enough to maintain good posture. Outlined below are some tips to help you out.

  • Sitting/ Desk: your feet are on the floor, knees at or below your hip level, relaxed shoulders over your hips with your forearms at a parallel position to the ground, and have your backrest support your entire back, none of those lumbar support pillows doing the core for you. Use your core to hold you up.
  • Standing: your weight is borne by the soles of your feet, with your feet placed about hips width, tuck your ribs in, and have your hands hanging naturally from the body sides. All the while maintaining a straight and tall structure. Think of a string attached to the top of your head lifting you up the whole day.

 

For more on how to help with your posture head over to the the free resources page and download Fix Rounded Shoulder In 3-Easy Steps Using a Steel Mace.

3 Easy Steps to Fix Rounded Shoulders with a Steel Mace: Part 2

How the Steel Mace Can Help?

The steel mace is one of the best tools I have found to personally correct and strengthen my own posture and to reinforce proper movement mechanics to maintain that posture. With it’s unique offset balance and length it has help me and many of my clients with similar issues, take back control on how  we sit, stand, move and most of all feel. Let’s be honest it’s hard not to feel like a [email protected]$ when swinging 10 pounds of steel!

Step 1. Standing Structure

Standing Structure is going to be our base point. Our “Home Base” for optimal posture alignment. Just being more conscious of how you stand and sit through out the day will help us to correct those pesky forward shoulders and start to reduce pain and discomfort. Here it is.

The Cues to get into Standing Structure are:

o Point pinky toes straight, feet no wider than shoulder length apart.

o Micro bend in the knees, not locked out.

o Tuck tailbone underneath you by driving hips forward (flex glutes).

o Tuck your ribs down into your abdomen, create tension(flex).

o Roll shoulders down and back create tension between shoulder.

o Pull chin back and lengthen spine through the back of your head.

Step 2. Grip It, Rip It, Crush It

Now let’s add in the mace!One of the best things about the mace is your ability to isometric force to it while holding ist and moving it through movements. We are going to discuss two of 

Converging Force/Crush It– All this means is when you are holding the mace that you try to “crush it” together without letting your hands slide closer. This activates muscles of the chest. 

Diverging Force/Rip It– This force is the opposite of converging. Which means instead of trying to crush the mace we literally try to rip the mace apart. This will activate the muscles of the back.

Step 3. The Everyday Routine

The Every Day Routine- Do at least two(2) full rounds of these five(5) Steel Mace exercises daily to achieve the most benefit and optimal results on correcting rounded shoulders.

  1.  RIP IT(as hard as you can)- 15-20 Seconds; Alternate weighted side each round.
  1. Switch Squat- 20 Total Reps; “Rip It” as you squat down when mace is horizontal to floor.
  1. Offset Press- 8 Reps each side; “Crush It” as you press up, “Rip It” as you come Down.
  1. High Hinge Row- 8 Reps each side; “Rip It” as you pull to chest, “Crush It” as you lower down.
  1. Pendulums- 20 Total Reps; Alternate top hand each round.

Rest as needed between each exercise and repeat for as many rounds as you’d like with a minimum of two(2) to balance out your hand positions.

Focus on slow controlled movements. Posture and form are key, especially in the upper back and shoulders. When this workout is done correctly you may see other fitness benefits such as increased endurance, strength gain, and fat burn. But the main focus is to correct posture and reduce pain from upper cross syndrome. 

For the full break down of the Everyday Routine as well as pictures and videos on how each movement is done:

Back Pain & How to Fix It: Part 3

Welcome back to our last installment on Back Pain and How to Fix It. If you have read and tried the mobility and core exercises from part 1 & 2, shoot me a message on Instagram or facebook to let me know the results, good or bad I want to hear it all! Now, let’s dive into part three!

So, we stretched it out to aleve that annoying tightness pulling on our hips and low back causing the irritating ache throughout the day, then we worked on our core to build support around those muscles to generate stronger posture and better spinal mechanics. So where do we go from here…? Well, our last step is to strengthen the back! It’s a wide misconception that when you have back pain you should stay away from doing amazing back exercises like the “Good Morning” and the “Deadlift” that have tremendous benefit to our bodies natural way of movement. The “Hip Hinge” is a fundamental human movement that is ingrained into our DNA, and taking that movement away completely can have huge detrimental side-effects, but more on that another day perhaps.

So, back to strengthening our backs for a stronger, better back. We want to build the muscles around the core and spin to so that the muscles of these areas start to do their jobs and take over supporting our spine and our posture instead of relying on our joints to do so. 

So here are four great back exercises that when done properly will strengthen your back and stop the pain in its track.

First off the KING of all lifts, the DEADLIFT! This exercise can be done with so many different tools to help modify the range of motion, torque, and load. Barbell, Kettlebell, Dumbbell and even the steel mace for a challenging offset pull. My personal favorite are the barbell & kettlebell, Examples below.

How To Properly Conventional Deadlift Part 1 & 2

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Single Kettlebell Deadlift

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Hyperextensions/ Prone Cobras are a great light weight exercise to strengthen the low traps and erector spinae muscles of the back. Big supporters of the lumbar spine and can be done with or without weight. I personally use prone cobras in every warm up I do. Here’s the video.

Prone Cobra

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Hyperextensions

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Pull-A-Parts- Prefect exercise to help correct the upper body posture and to fix the upper cross syndrome of forward drooping shoulders and your neck sticking way out in front of you. Another staple exercise in my warm-ups to help prime my body for the work to be done.

Band Pull-A-Parts

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Our last one today is going to be a full body isometric hold from your fingers to your toes. 

The Dead Hang. This is a great one that I use at the end of every workout. It strengthens my core, hip and spine connection as well as helps my body decompress my joints and stretches my muscles after a heavy gym session. It’s a personal favorite and feels great! Let’s check it out.

What I Learned From Hanging on A bar

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Back Pain & How to Fix It: Part 2

Well, now that we are nice and stretched out and worked on some mobility to ease that annoying back pain. Let’s get into how to fix it and prevent it from coming back again. Now a big misconception of back pain is that it’s caused from the back itself, but in reality, most cases the pain is actually caused by weakness in core muscles and/or overactive hip flexors. We addressed the overactive hips slightly in the first part with stretches like the “90/90” and “couch stretch” but what can we do for our core and why is that it’s so important?!

Let’s start off by looking at the different core muscles.

  • Transverse Abdominis(TVA)- This is a large deep core muscle that sits under your “abs” and wraps around to your back. Imagine a corset, and just like a corset it is there to help us hold everything in place and support our posture.
  • Internal/ External Obliques(Huggy Muscles)- The obliques sit in the lower front and wrap around to the back side. Think just above the love handles. These guys are the main movers for lateral flexion( bending side to side) and also give us the ability to rotate.
  • Rectus Abdominis(Six Back)- These lovely little guys are the most superficial core muscle. These are the “6- pack” muscles or the so-called “Washboard” everyone wants. These muscles deal with flexion & extension of the spine. Like Arching back or bending down to touch your toes. Refer to the Cat/Cows from part 1.

 

Now that we have an idea of what the MAJOR muscles of the core are and what they do to an extent(they do lots more and there are many other muscles that help). Let’s get into some exercises that will greatly benefit you posture and help relieve the pain for good! Try these four exercises out, tag @TeamQuinnFit and reach out for any tips/suppout.

Core Exercises:

  • Diaphragmatic/ Deep Belly Breathing

https://www.anahana.com/wellness-blog/breathing/diaphragmatic-breathing 

  • Deadbugs/ Modified Deadbugs

https://youtu.be/g_BYB0R-4Ws 

  • Birddogs 

https://youtu.be/k2azbhhuKuM 

  • Paloff Press 

https://youtu.be/5_8d8vHgZvU 

 

Back Pain and How to Fix It: Part 1

AN ASTOUNDING NUMBER OF AMERICANS SUFFER FROM BACK PAIN DAILY…

According to data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 11.2 percent of American adults (25.3 million people) have experienced some form of pain every day for the past three months. Much of this pain is due to acute causes such as accidents or injuries. A sizable percentage, however, is not due to an acute reason. Many people suffer from chronic pain that lasts long after the initial injury has healed. Sometimes there was no injury at all. In my  years as a personal trainer one of the most common types of pain I have seen is back pain that was NOT due to injury, or at least the initial injury was years ago and yet the pain persists.

The majority of chronic pain I have seen in clients was the result of poor movement and muscle recruitment patterns. Either these patterns caused bad movement which set them up for injury, or these bad movement patterns caused wear and tear in the spine or inflammation in the muscles of the back which cause terrible daily or almost daily pain. The good news is that pain due to poor movement patterns can typically be fixed in relatively short periods of time when the right types of stretching and exercise are introduced and even through dietary changes. A movement pattern is literally HOW your body moves when you do things.

These patterns are learned through repetitive movement or lack of movement and ingrained as “default” patterns. An easy example is how we walk. You inevitably have an ingrained default walking pattern that you have developed throughout the years. For better or worse this is your pattern. Now think of the things you tend to do most throughout the day…maybe you sit a lot in traffic or at your desk…maybe you stand all day…maybe you activate some muscles repeatedly while others almost never get activated…basically EVERYTHING you do frequently throughout the day creates patterns in your body. Many times, these patterns are less than ideal and they result in joints that move poorly which results in inflammation and pain.

That’s the bad news…now here is the good news… Most cases of lower back pain can be FIXED! Yes, you can live a pain free life and enjoy all the fun and extraordinary things your body can do like running, jumping, climbing trees, hiking up mountains, and lifting HEAVY SHIT! To start you off here are 4 of my personal favorite mobility movements and stretches I use for myself and my clients when addressing lower back pain… Enjoy.

90/90 Hip Stretch

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Couch Stretch

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QL Straddle

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Cat Cow Stretch

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