The way your body presents itself is a road map of how it has been used over time. The body has a 'perfect' anatomical position or posture that will let it move and perform with the most ease and strength. Obviously everyone has a different sized body and everyone will have a slight divergence on what is their perfect posture.
You can perform a quick posture check on yourself by taking a picture of yourself standing. Stand as you would normally , don't 'try' to stand correctly.
Your looking for the following points,
Anterior view, from the front.
Feet and ankles, straight and parallel.
Knees, in line with toes.
Shoulders, level and not elevated.
Head, level neither tilted nor rotated.
Lateral view, from the side
Feet/ankles, leg vertical at right angle to sole of foot.
Knees, neutral, not flexed or hyperextended.
Pelvis, level not tipped forwards or backwards.
Shoulders, not excessively rounded.
Head, neutral not jutting forwards.
Posterior view, from behind.
Look for same points as from the front but look at the scapula (shoulder blades) , are they level and parallel to each other?
Our posture can change over time and what we do on a daily basis will mould our posture as the body tries to adapt to what is being asked of it. A static analysis of your posture can tell you a lot about what is going on with your muscles, tightness, weakness and imbalances.
For instance tight hip flexor muscles can pull the pelvis out of postion forcing it to tilt forwards, this can pull the back out of position forcing excessive curvature in the lumbar spine, which will lengthen and weaken the transverse abdominus and the list goes on.
Vladimir Janda was a physiotherapist from Prague who studied posture and developed three postural compensation patterns that presented themselves to him in his patients.
These were lower crossed syndrome, upper crossed syndrome and pronation distortion syndrome.
Lower crossed syndrome is where the hip flexors are tight, the lower back is tight and excessively arched and the pelvis is tilted forwards.
If you find you stand in this position you will need to stretch and massage your hip flexors and strengthen your hip extendors.
Upper crossed syndrome is characterised by rounded shoulders and a jutting or forward head posture. The anterior upper body muscles will most likely be tights, chest and shoulders. The posterior upper body muscles will most likely be lengthened and weakened, rhomboids, lower trapezius.
If you find you stand presenting these signs you will want to stretch and massage your anterior pecs and delts and strengthen your rhomboids and lower traps. Cables and resistance bands can be great for this.
Pronation distortion syndrome, is characterised by feet pronation (flat feet) , knock knees and internal rotation at the hips. This is caused by tight hip adductors (the muscles that bring your leg into your mid line) and lengthened and weak hip external rotators and abductors (glute medius and maximus).
If you find you stand like this you will want to stretch and massage your adductors and strengthen your abductors. (Check out last blog post).
If you experience pain and discomfort or are worried about your posture I would seek out the help of a physio or good therapist.
Any questions feel free to drop me an email.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your training.