Coach Alicia Fong

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“Stand Up Tall”

badpostureI can still hear my mom’s words: “Stand Up Tall”.  She used to tell me these three words a lot when I was young.   I wish I listened more but it was hard to stand up tall without feeling tension on my back.  It didn’t come naturally.  I had to force myself to stand up tall and every time I did, my back was killing me.  Obviously, our city lifestyle didn’t help.  We sit in a desk or car for hours in a day.  We don’t use our back muscles a lot.  And before we know it, we develop an upper cross syndrome posture over the years.   It is also known as rounded shoulders posture.  It is a very common faulty upper body imbalance.  However, many people nowadays have more than one faulty body imbalance.  These body imbalances or bad postures ultimately result in chronic pain and disability.

I came across an article in the Marie Claire Magazine, March 2009 edition.  It was about this woman who wrote about her years of back pain due to bad posture.  A orthopedic surgeon told her that posture affects the spine’s alignment.  If you are not standing up straight, you’ll put more strain on the discs, joints, muscles, and ligaments that support the spine.  As I am reading this article, it reminds me how important it is and how little do I promote this in my gym even though it’s the first thing I discuss with all of my clients.  A lot of people don’t want to hear about this stuff because it’s not very interesting.  They want to hear about how to get 6-pack abs or how to get those big biceps, etc.  I like to reiterate the importance of correcting bad postures or muscle imbalances.

First, why do we have muscle imbalances?  It’s because we have muscular dysfunction.  The primary muscle responsible for specific joint movement may become weak and inhibited, causing a synergistic muscle/muscles to become hyperactive. As a result, a different sequence of muscular contractions occurs. In other words, compensation occurs and therefore, we build up muscle imbalances.

Have a trainer, physical therapist or orthopedic identify your posture or muscle imbalances.  You want to know about them so you can rectify them through a series of corrective exercises.  It is important to address your imbalances prior to loading up your body with weights or prior to an intense workout because if you do not, you have higher risk of injuries.  Make sure you do find someone who knows what they are doing to help you with this.   A wrong exercise can make your posture worse.  The corrective exercises can be implemented into your training program.  Do them before your strength workout and as often as you can.  Before you know it, you have corrected your posture without forcing it and live pain free.

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March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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