7 months ago

Can Sports Apparel Improve Posture?

Today’s post is a guest post by Ivy Harper.  She takes an in depth look at sports apparel, and it’s potential to improve posture:

Proper posture gets a lot of attention in the world of sports, as poor body alignment can cause serious consequences in training or during a game. However, it doesn’t come naturally for many people especially with the nature of most jobs, and even athletes need some help. One exciting innovation that sports scientists have made are posture-correcting shirts that can improve sports performance.

Text neck

Image Source: Unsplash

A term coined by chiropractor Dean Fishman, ‘text neck’ is the pain felt in the cervical spine after slouching too much from looking at a mobile device. The human head weighs 10 pounds on average, but can feel as if it weighs up to 60 pounds depending on the angle of the neck when it is bent. This puts a lot of strain on the spine especially on the neck and the upper back.

Bad posture is an occupational hazard for athletes. They can also suffer from the syndrome, especially with lots of hours spent on the road and reviewing their performance on tape. Aside from these sedentary habits, Very Well Health adds that muscle imbalance, fatigue, and injuries lead to improper posture. Muscle spasms, for example, tend to weaken the damaged area over time, throwing the body out of symmetry. On the other hand, some athletes have a tendency to overwork the side of the body that they use the most and neglect the other—like a quarterback’s throwing arm. It can also put the alignment out of whack.

Posture shirts

Image Source: AlignMed Facebook

Posture shirts are not your average compression shirt as they’re considered medical devices. One of the more known brands is AlignMed which many athletes are starting to use. They include Kansas City Royals pitcher Greg Holland, and Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard, who uses it under his jersey. Although it is still a compression shirt, the AlignMed posture shirt is fitted with ‘neurobands’ that activate the muscle groups around the spine, particularly around the shoulders. When the neuroband technology senses even the slightest rounding of the back, it stimulates the muscles so that you can snap right back to proper posture. It’s similar to the wearable device Upright GO which we previously raved about here on VerticAlign. Posture shirts don’t do all the work but give you a literal tap on your shoulder (or your upper back) when your body is out of alignment.

Posture shirts

Image Source: Intelliskin Facebook

Aside from AlignMed’s posture shirt, other products have started popping up on the market as well. Underworks came up with their own version of the technology as well, with an additional band in the midsection to contract the abdominals.

Other sports teams and players have also looked into posture correcting technology by adding modifications to their apparel. In their article on the evolution of professional soccer kits, Coral details how Italy’s World Cup 2014 shirt had a special tape in the fabric that micro-massaged players. Its purpose was to speed up recovery and prevent muscle fatigue. This process helps avoid alignment issues.

Posture is extremely important in sports especially in terms of improving circulation, reducing pain, preventing injuries, and enhancing athletic performance. Right now, the science behind posture shirts still needs to be studied, especially its long term efficacy. However, testimonials from professionals look promising so it may not be a bad idea to invest in posture-correcting apparel.

Stay tuned for VerticAlign’s in-depth discussion of different posture correcting wearables. More products with such feature are still coming out on the market and they need to be put to the test!

8 months ago

VerticAlign Results- Meet Kelly!

It’s time for some VerticAlign results.  Meet Kelly:

Kelly is a successful business owner but with her thriving business, she works long hours at her desk. She had intense neck pain that would often debilitate her, interrupt her sleep and slow her down in staying active. She tried massage and chiropractic care, but would get only limited short term results. 

Kelly completed 2 rounds (16 weeks) of the 8 week custom coaching program, and not only did her pain decrease considerably, she learned a lot about her body and was able to progress her workouts and see some incredible visual results as well.

She didn’t lose much on the scale, but her improved posture made her look more tone and lean.

Kelly was one of the most committed VerticAlign’s clients. She did her routine every day. She would also ask in depth questions during her video sessions to make sure she was completing her exercises effectively.  We are so impressed with her results!

8 months ago

The Glute Exercise You’ve Never Seen, But Should Be Doing

So they say “work your glutes”.  In fact, I personally say it often.  I’ve even ventured to tell you that working your glutes is more important that working your abs.  Read more about this here. Today however, I want to focus on a specific glute muscle.

Lately, I’ve been super focused on the gluteus medius.  This is located on the side of the hip. The muscle helps the other glutes with their functions (external rotation, hip extension) but it also has a solid role as a muscle stabilizer. Working this muscle is very important for a variety of movement symptoms:

Do your feet pronate (flat foot) and/or are your knees sore? Work the gluteus medius!

Do your hips shift side to side excessively when you walk? Work the gluteus medius!

Do you have a hip that sits higher than the other side? Work the gluteus medius!

You get the picture. Sometimes an “inactive” gluteus medius can cause havoc on the hip alignment and can create a pain that radiates down the body into the back, knees, ankles and feet.

Now this exercise is unique. It feels odd.  You won’t know what to do with one of you arms.  But check it out below and then I’ll give you some tips:

Here are my tips:

  1. Stand against a wall. Your inside leg will be lifted into a 90 degree angle. Your inside shoulder should be touching the wall and your inside hand can rest on the lifted leg.
  2. Make sure you are standing in good posture. The standing leg should be very straight.  Your bent leg should be pushing into the wall.
  3. You will be working both glutes.  However each leg will feel different in how it is working.
  4. Hold this position for at least 1 minute on each side.

Give this Wall Stork exercise a try and tell me what you feel.  One client told me her weak glute woke up and she felt it tingling. Another client got so fatigued on one side she was able to immediately identify which glute was weaker. We are all different, so tell me how it affects YOU.

Please comment below and tell me how this feels in YOUR body!