The Big Influence of Posture on Muscle Building Programs

Before we can really start to define posture we need to define some basic concepts such as balance, spatiality and anti-gravitational forces in the body.

  • Balance is the term used to define the ability to hold one’s position in space in a controlled way. Balance can be either static or dynamic.
  • Spatiality is the relationship between the body and the three-dimensional axes that are found on the body or on a place where the body is resting.
  • Anti-gravitational forces are those forces that allow us to move and thus “overpower” the force of gravity.

Posture is consequently the term that includes all mechanisms and processes that allow us to hold a position in space with the least possible use of energy. There are different body postures that apply, for example the standing position, the sitting position and the lying position.

Which organs and systems allow us to hold a posture, and how can they vary according to the stimuli received from the body and from the environment?

The various physical and anatomical entities that allow us to hold the posture can be divided into two main components or systems:

The Locomotory Apparatus

Comprising of the bones, the muscles, the tendons and the connective tissue bands. These allow the body to adopt and hold a specific position and also guarantee the body sufficient support and safety by allowing it to move within a three-dimensional space.

The Nervous System

This system comprises the senses of sight, sound, smell and taste, and more importantly, touch, which is perceived through the nerves that travel down the spine and extend right to the skin. The exteroreceptors (eye, inner ear and, touch) and inner receptors (feeling in the muscles, joints and tendons) and especially the highly sensitive hands and feet, allow the brain to gather relevant information about the spatiality and produce bodily adjustments second after second, to create a situation of physical balance.

There are also other systems that concur in creating physical balance but these two are the most important.

How is posture influenced by the environment?

Through posture, the body in a three-dimensional environment must have the following abilities

  • Overpower the force of gravity
  • Contrast external forces that the body receives
  • Keep the body from falling over. Guiding and supporting its movements.

Each of these factors can be influenced by psychological or emotional states of the person involved. Balance is also not something static; it is a continual dynamic adaptive process that allows for maximum bodily efficiency. A sedentary lifestyle and bad habits can drastically influence the basic posture and cause incorrect bodily positions and movements.

How can one acquire a proper standing posture?

The standing posture is one of the basic human postures and it must allow an effective balanced unloading of the weight as well as the least possible waste of energy. In today’s society bad postures are becoming ever more frequent. This is caused by work, shoes, mattress, emotional state and lack of movement.
The position of the head, shoulders, wrists, hips, knees and ankles should all be vertically aligned. Even so, one could have all those parts vertically aligned and still not have a good posture because there could be a problem on the horizontal axes or on the rotation of the body parts.

How are the body parts aligned in a truly correct posture?

  • Foot: The foot must allow for the weight of the entire body to be balanced and evenly spread. One must take note if their weight is resting excessively on the heel or on the forefoot, or on the external or internal areas.
  • Knee: The knee allows for less movement than other articulations but it is important to make sure that the knee is working correctly as it is an important body part for unloading weight. The knee shouldn’t have to bend too much or too little and the weight of the body should rest evenly in the center of the knee. Problems arise when the weight tends to unload primarily on the external or the internal area of the knee, which could eventually make the legs skew.
  • Hips: The hips should be aligned naturally and shouldn’t be too far forward or too far back. They also shouldn’t be tilted forward or backward. An incorrect position of the hips can have repercussions on the back and on the knees and can also provoke a lumbar lordosis.
  • Spinal Column: It is made up of 33/34 vertebrae and is divided in the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacrococcygeal regions. Looking at it from the side it is possible to observe that it is sometimes convex and sometimes concave (known as lordosis and kyphosis).These physiological curves are very important for unloading the body’s weight effectively to the ground and for giving sufficient strength to certain areas. Scoliosis, lordosis and flat back can cause postural alterations.
  • Shoulders and arms: The shoulder blades must be in their neutral position without excessive variations (especially that of having a shoulder higher than the other ), a very common problem is that of having “winged” shoulder blades that stick out. The position of the arm must be neutral or with a slight internal rotation. Particular attention should be paid to the tendons and muscles around the shoulder as bad posture can damage these.
  • The Head: The head must be centered and straight. An incorrect position of the head can cause repercussions on the rest of the body. Even an incorrect position of the jaw can cause problems.

How does posture influence sports results?

The correct posture is important in sports. A failure to implement correct postural patterns increases the likelihood of an accident and penalizes the movement that you want to perform, for example kicking a ball whilst unbalanced is difficult and also inefficient.

In working with loads and weights during bodybuilding you must find the best positions to get the weight off your joints as well as find positions that allow you the maximum output power and the best technical gesture possible.

The muscles can be divided into groups by work and by function, in other words they can be divided into phasic muscles postural muscles. The phasic muscles allow the real movement to take place while the postural muscles serve to guide and control the movement. The postural muscles don’t get much training in the gym, especially if you use exercise machines. In order to train postural muscles it would be best to exercise as much as possible using free weights or without weights, and trying your best to control and balance the movements as much as possible.

Posture, clinical cases and conclusions.

Wrong postural attitudes can be divided into two main categories; the paramorphisms where the posture has origin from a wrong attitude and can be corrected by postural exercises and educational therapies and dysmorphism where the problem can only be corrected through surgery or orthopedic treatment.
The paramorphisms can be changed by using your willpower while the deformity of the second groups can’t. Antalgic postures are those where pain is caused by the poor posture itself.

In conclusion one can say that your posture is a set of elements (anatomical, physiological, mental and emotional), which together give a result which is not a fixed or rigid attitude but a continuous evolution of adaptations and transformations that stem from a continual search for efficiency and energy saving.

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