There are several different types of posture however I'm going to focus on the three main types I see on a daily basis. The lordotic/kyphosis posture, flat back and sway back.
Here's a sample of these postures:
A: Ideal, B: lordosis/kyphosis, C: Flat and D: Sway Back
Note how the spine sits in each diagram. Sway back is commonly misinterpreted as lordosis, this is not the case.
So now we have physically identified the main types, you may want to find out a little more on each posture and how you can successfully help reduce any aches or pains/problems associated with your posture.
Why would anyone want ideal posture?
Yes, that is a bit of trick question. Of course we want to aim for ideal posture! Think about your daily movements and activities, wouldn't it be more favourable to execute these movements correctly, freely and pain free? Possessing the ideal posture means your organs function at their highest possible ability and breathing is optimal (full exhalation and inhalation). Plus your body moves and operates at it's optimal function. Changes in our posture can come from many areas: genetics, stress, our environment, exercise and injuries. Pregnancy will also affect posture during and after the birth. I work with lots of ladies to help improve and regain strength plus balance out weaknesses after childbirth. If left, injuries can develop resulting in rehab and less time to enjoy baby!
Identify your posture
Head juts forward,
Upper back is rounded
Chest is tight and shoulders tend to round
Lower abs protrude forward
Excessive curve in lower spine (posteriorly) and pelvis rotated forward
Long, stretched hamstrings
Weak and poor glute development
Tight low back muscles
Head is leaning forward
Natural curvature of the spine is flattened
Pelvis tilted backwards
Long weak hip flexors*
Short tight hamstrings*
Weak neck flexors*
*Similar to Flat back however with minimal lower spine curve
Upper back is heavily rounded
Head is rotated forward
Pelvis swaying forwards
Hip joints are over extended
Who can help me improve my posture?
There are several different health professionals you can turn to including: Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Massage therapists, Personal trainers (with postural correction knowlegde), Pilates instructors and Podiatrists (read my post here about a great one. All can add their input and expertise to your body. It's really about finding the person you feel comfortable with and trusting their method. I recommend asking friends/family members for referrals not just going in blindly to a "professional" off the street. It tends to be very hit and miss. Ask lots of questions: "How long will this process take", "what results can I expect", "Have you had success before" and "Do you treat my condition regularly.
Seeking help to improve your posture and therefore your body will be well worth the time, money and energy. There is not a one size fits all protocol to follow, obviously because we are all very different to our friend, work colleague or husband. Assessment is essential!
Other tools that can help:
Intelliskin PostureCue Sports Bra. I've been trialling this product out for a few weeks now and love it. I was skeptical at first because I was unsure if a sports bra would help improve or at least help improve posture. The PostureCue is a sports bra that has a woven back (so not your typical sports bra with straps). It means you are supporting your front from the back essentially. The recommended use is for 30-60 mins per day in the beginning and then you can increase the time as you become adjusted to the bra. I definitely felt it start to make me more aware of my general sitting position and how I stood day to day. Compared to my usual sports bra I felt more support from the back and my shoulder position changed. It takes a little getting used to so I would recommend slowly integrating it into your wardrobe. Try it during your workout and then start wearing it longer throughout the day. The breathable mesh material has a cooling effect, anti-odour and the Fabrifoam panelling makes the bra comfortable to wear when you exercise or use it during the day. There are also removable cups (so the boobies look good!) and it washes well.
The Intelliskin would compliment a postural correction training program nicely and give your the support you need throughout the day. You can purchase your PostureCue here
and quote "newoutlookfitness" when you order to receive FREE postage!
Postural correction exercises:
Changing up your training can help improve your posture. I generally recommend a move away from seated machines in the gym to standing and intergrated exercises. I will always try for isolation movement first then start intergrating movements that will be functional (serve a purpose) for the individual client. One of my specialities is posture correction and if you are wanting help to improve yours, programs are available by emailing email@example.com (available as face-toface and online). Some more exercises can be found here, a post I did a few years ago on posture.
Some stretches you can try to help improve your posture: