Why Good Posture Matters

Workout of the Day--September 10, 2015

4 Rounds; Max reps at each station
1 Min Push press (45/35)
1 Min Box jumps
1 Min Wall ball (20/14)
1 Min Burpees

Rest 1 minute between stations.

 
 a strong core is critical to good posture and good posture is critical to a strong core.

a strong core is critical to good posture and good posture is critical to a strong core.

 

Why Good Posture Matters

At the Holcomb house, we regularly exhort one another to fix our posture. That can look like a friendly slap in the stomach to cue tightening the abs, or hands on slumping shoulders to gently make aware of an all too common slouch, to a burpee penalty if caught slouching by another family member. Many of us struggle with posture-related issues such as impaired thoracic mobility, shortened or tight hamstrings, neck pain, or low back pain. While many athletes have told me that their posture improves with CrossFit (one part awareness, and two parts improved core and posterior chain strength), many more find that old engrained habits continue to limit their progress in things like overhead squats, snatches, or even pull ups.  

Our culture of sitting, driving, and staring at electronic screens all day sets us up for posture problems. Because everyone we know and encounter is dealing with the same issues, these dysfunctional patterns have become the new norm. Forward head tilt from staring at computers or phones, rounded shoulders from sitting at a desk or a computer, or shoulders shrugged up to your earlobes from stress are all examples of dysfunctional posture patterns. But posture impacts our lives in many more ways than just our 1-rep max snatch. Better posture means better physical well-being:

  • You will breathe better. Better posture creates more room for your lungs to expand meaning more oxygen in; more carbon dioxide out. It's the same reason we tell you to stand up instead of hunching over when you are trying to catch your breath in a workout.
  • You lower your risk of excessive degeneration of your bones and discs when your spine is stacked and well-organized. This also allows your shoulders and hips to handle their appropriate share of the load of your body.

  • You have less risk of musculoskeletal pain particularly in the muscles of your neck and back. Good alignment allows soft tissue to sit in a good length-tension relationship avoiding excessive tightness.

  • Your lymphatic and circulatory systems are less restricted and more free to flow when your chest is open and your spine is long.

  • Last but not least, you just feel better when your posture is solid. You are more confident, more stable and have a better outlook when standing tall.

So have I convinced you that posture is worth working on? As with anything worth doing, it takes consistent work and practice. Be aware of what triggers your slouchy posture and come up with cues for yourself to help self-correct. Or, tell a family member or coworker to harass you when if your posture is deteriorating. Add to this hourly standing, stretching, walking breaks when driving or sitting at a desk to open everything back up. It's worth the effort for your every day health and you never know...it just might help that 1-rep max snatch too.