More and more, we are looking for resistance exercises that support overall health. When strength training, assess and develop a baseline for your body’s stability and mobility. Your strength training program should challenge your shoulders to help improve posture and help eliminate low back pain, especially for women. Do an initial body assessment to provide a strong foundation from which to build a more complex strength training program to come.
Start by assessing your posture in the two most compromised areas of your body: shoulders/upper back and hips.
Upper Crossed Syndrome
- This is characterized by a forward head and rounded shoulders.
- There is supposed to be a small kyphotic curve in the upper back, however, our common behaviors today can create an excessive curve resulting in poor posture.
- You may experience difficulty or an inability to lift your heart and open your chest because of tight pec muscles.
- You may have weak scapular stabilizers which could result in rotator cuff issues or shoulder strains.
Lower Crossed Syndrome
- This is characterized by an anterior pelvic tilt and increased lumbar lordosis.
- Check to see if your pelivs likes to rest anteriorly – popping the booty back – or posteriorly – tucking your tail like a dog.
- Balancing the pelvis often means lengthening the hip flexors and releasing the low back.
- You also want to focus on balancing the strength of the abdominals with the length of the hamstrings.
- Pelvic up-slip or down-slip is also common. Laying on your back, play your hands on the boney hip points that shoot straight forward (ASIS points). Is there one side that sits higher/lower than the other?
Strength Training For Stability
Stability is your body’s ability to brace against an external force such as gravity or resistance. It is how your body supports itself during a movement. If you’re strength training – in any type of class – it’s especially important to find balanced strength and coordination of complementary muscles when you build stability. If you want to see real body changes, you want to build up to movements that challenge your body’s overall stability.
- Local movement patterns are joint or region specific.
- Planar revolves around front, side, and back planes of movement.
- Global is the pulled-back fluid, multiplanar movement you use in many function as well as sports.
Strength Training For Mobility
Healthy mobility is optimizing your range of motion. In your strength training program, you want to balance the length and strength between the short, active muscles with those of the long, inactive muscles. Now build those muscles with exercises that move in all planes of motion, creating postural balance.
- Sagittal Plane: moving through front and back support
- Frontal Plane: moving with lateral integration and support
- Transverse Plane: incorporate rotational movement
Practice At Home
This gentle series will use a foam roller to release the pec muscles, open your chest and lift your posture.
The Take Away
A really robust strength training program marries when to build stability and when to increase mobility! Start to recognize your own body’s restrictions and seek to balance the coordinating muscle groups. One of the great joys and challenges of moving our body is to realize your own impaired movement patterns and lean into the opportunity to improve them and move better!
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