How Bad Posture Can Make the Best Workout Fail

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Have you ever thought about why posture is so important? Ideal posture is when the musculoskeletal system functions at its best.

Corrective exercise and high-performance exercise expert Paul Chek says, "In ideal posture there exists optimal length-tension relationships between agonists, antagonists neutralizer and stabilizer musculature. Ideal posture encourages maintenance of concentric joint motion and an optimal instantaneous axis of rotation."

More: The Diet Detective: How to Perfect Your Posture

Bad posture can lead to numerous muscular imbalances. Upper Cross Syndrome is an imbalance between the flexors and extensors of the trunk.

This is often seen in people who spend a lot of time hunched over a computer all day. Or, for those who do a lot of abdominal crunches without exercising the back. It's important to counterbalance the flexion of the abdominals.

As the abdominal muscles become stronger than their antagonists, the following imbalances in the body occur:

  • Short and tight upper abdominals
  • Depressed Sternum
  • Forward head
  • Increased thoracic kyphosis

More: 7 Ways to Solve Your Posture Problems

Take a look at the lower half of the body. Lower Cross Syndrome is a shortening of the lumbar erectors, ilipsoas, rectus femoris and tensor fascia latae with lengthening of the lower abdominal musculature, hamstrings, thoracic extensors and superficial cervical flexors. Basically you'll look like you have a Donald Duck butt.

This type of posture is usually seen in people who spend most of their on the seated machines at gyms. The machines lock you into a sagittal plane, yet you function daily in multiple planes: transverse, frontal and sagittal.

  • Transverse: rotational
  • Frontal: side to side
  • Sagittal: forward and backward

More: 5 Exercises to Improve Your Posture

Exercising in one plane weakens your smaller muscular stabilizers, which may cause injuries when you do movements such as lifting a grocery bag. You might strain your back, or worse, slip a disc.

Next time you go to the gym, ask a personal trainer to do a body assessment on you. This will help you learn how to correct your posture and begin exercising with the correct form.

More: 3 Core Workouts to Keep Your Back Strong 

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