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Besides your personality body alignment says a lot about how your muscles and joints are working. Learn more about assessing your postural deviations and how to fix them!

Many studies show that how you feel and look is directly linked to your posture. Even the people know how important is to have good posture, most them don�t do anything to improve it.

Many of you probably live with deformed backs and imbalanced hips, and, of course, deal with the pain that you think is normal.

How dangerous can be to live with bad posture?  It can lead to plenty of problems:

�           Chronic back, shoulder and neck pain

�           Headaches

�           Injuries to feet, knees and hips

�           Fatigue

�           Stiffness

�           Difficulty breathing

�           Muscle atrophy and weakness

�           Impingement and nerve compression

�           Digestion issues

�           Carpal tunnel syndrome

�           Sciatica

If you are suffering from any of these problems, you should understand proper posture and learn about your own postural deviations.

Correcting Your Alignment

To solve a problem, you first need to find out what causes it. Most of the postural deviations occur as the muscles that work to hold a joint in place are imbalanced.

You can correct imbalances by strengthening the underactive muscles and to stretching the overactive muscles

Standing Assessment

For you who are not sure whether your posture is good or it needs a little correction, do this standing assessment first:

�           Put on form-fitting clothes,

�           Stand shoeless, tall but comfortable, do not trying to force yourself to stay in perfect posture.

�           For an honest assessment, close your eyes and march slowly in place a few times.

�           Have a friend take a full body picture of you

Here�s what a properly postured body should look like:

�           Picture � posture

Standing Assessment Postural Deviations

I � Back, Shoulders, Hips, And Head

Here�s how you can correct these deviations:

Deviation 1: Sway Back � Hips Press Forward and Sit In Front Of the Ribs

Overactive muscles: erector spinae, gluteus maximus and medius, hamstrings and quadratus lumborum Stretches: Runner�s stretch, seated glute stretch, world�s greatest stretch, hamstring stretch, lying crossover, hamstring self-myofascial release (foam rolling)

Underactive muscles: Iliopsoas, rectus femoris (hip flexors and lower abs) and external obliques

Strengthening exercises: Cocoon, hanging leg raise, exercise ball pull-in and scissor kick

Deviation 2: Lower-Cross Syndrome 

Excessive Curve In The Low Back, Pelvis Is Tilted Forward

Overactive muscles: erector spinae (hip flexors and low back) and Iliopsoas

Stretches: quadriceps self-myofascial release, quadriceps stretch, pyramid stretch over ball, hug knees to chest and kneeling hip flexor,

Underactive muscles: gluteus maximus and abdominals

Strengthening exercises: Pelvic tilt to bridge, exercise-ball hip bridge, single-leg glute bridge, frog sit-up and leg elevated crunch,

Deviation 3: Rounded Shoulders

 Shoulders In Front Of Ears

Overactive muscles: Pectoralis minor and major (chest)

Stretches: Front deltoid stretch, chest stretch on stability ball, dynamic chest stretch, elbows-back stretch, chair upper-body stretch

Underactive muscles: Rotator cuff, serratus anterior (muscles in the back surrounding the shoulder blades and rear delts) and lower trapezius,

Strengthening exercises: Seated cable row, shoulder external rotation, back fly with band, rear- delt row

Deviation 4: Forward Head

Ears In Front Of Shoulders

Overactive muscles: Neck extensors, levator scapula (muscles behind the neck that tilt the head back) and upper trapezius,

Stretches: Neck self-myofascial release, sternocleidomastoid stretch and chin to chest,

Strengthening exercises: Isometric front-neck exercise

Underactive muscles: Neck flexors (muscles in front of the neck that tilt the head forward)

Deviation 5: Upper-Cross Syndrome

 Rounded Shoulders With An Excessive Curve

Overactive muscles: Trapezius, pectoralis major and minor, levator scapula, neck extensors (the back of your neck, upper back, traps, and chest)

Stretches: Neck self-myofascial release, front-delt stretch, chin to chest, chest stretch on stability ball, elbows-back stretch, chair upper-body stretch and dynamic chest stretch

Underactive muscles: Rotator cuff, rhomboids, lower trapezius, deep neck flexors (muscles in the back surrounding the shoulder blades, rear delts, and in front of the neck) and serratus anterior

Strengthening exercises: back fly with band, seated cable row, isometric front-neck exercise, rear-delt row and shoulder external rotation,

Deviation 6: Head Tilt

Head Tilted To One Side (Can Be Accompanied By Rotation toward That Side)

Overactive muscles: Sternocleidomastoid tilted toward the midline.

Stretches: Side neck stretch, sternocleidomastoid stretch and neck self-myofascial release,

Underactive muscles: Sternocleidomastoid tilted away from the midline.

Strengthening exercises: Perform daily activities (e.g., chewing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and using a cell phone) evenly on both sides, isometric side-neck exercise

Deviation 7: Uneven Shoulders

One Shoulder Sits Higher Than The Other

Overactive muscle: Trapezius (muscle running from the back of the neck into the shoulder girdle) on the elevated side

Stretches: Side neck stretch, neck self-myofascial release

Underactive muscles: Serratus anterior

Strengthening exercises:  single-arm high-pulley row, perform daily activities on both sides

Deviation 8: Uneven Hips

One Hip Sits Higher Can Give The Perception Of Leg Length Discrepancy

Overactive muscles: hip abductors, internal and external obliques, erector spinae and quadratus lumborum on the raised side

Stretches: Runner�s stretch, world�s greatest stretch, IT-band stretch, IT-band self-myofascial release, seated glute stretch, lying cross-over, piriformis self-myofascial release, dancer�s stretch

Underactive muscles: Varies based on individual

Strengthening exercises: Avoid high-repetition andhigh-impact exercises until the pelvis is aligned.

II � Feet and Ankles

Like your other parts, your feet and ankles have a proper alignment.

Here are some common postural deviations for the feet and ankles:

Deviation 9: Feet Turned In

Toes Are Turned In Toward The Midline Of The Body

Overactive muscles: Tensor fasciae

Stretches: IT-band self-myofascial release and IT-band stretch,

Underactive muscles: Gluteus minimus and medius

Strengthening exercises: Bridge with band tension around thighs, squat with band tension around thighs and lateral tube walk,

Deviation 10: One Or Both Feet Turned Out � Toes Are Turned Out Away From The Midline Of The Body

Overactive muscles: deep external rotators and piriformis

Stretches: Seated glute stretch, piriformis self-myofascial release, lying cross-over, IT-band self-myofascial release, IT-band stretch and dancer�s stretch

Underactive muscles: obliques and hip flexors

Strengthening exercises: Cocoon, hanging leg raise and exercise ball pull-in,

Your Turn!

If you notice any of these imbalances, utilize the stretches and strengthening exercises.

Some examples

�           If you have the upper-cross syndrome, do the strengthening exercises (rows and shoulder rotations on your back) 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

�           Static stretching should be done at the end of your workout, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat a total of 3-5 sets.

Keep at it and soon you�ll notice some excellent results: You�ll look better, feel better and lift heavier!

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