These VerticAlign blog posts contain information about different exercises and stretches that can assist with posture and alignment. These exercises aim to help reduce back pain, neck pain, hip pain and knee pain. Each movement can be used to help build core strength, overcome an anterior pelvic tilt (arched back), posterior pelvic tilt (flat back) or kyphosis (hunchback) posture. Each exercise has a detailed description to help the reader understand exactly how to do it properly. Exact form is ideal for doing each of these movements. It’s important for the client to know exactly what to do, and how to do it. It’s also important to know what ORDER to do these movements in. Clients can use these descriptions to do workouts at home. Exercising at home is a powerful way to help overcome pain and feel better. Daily movement to improve posture will make you look slimmer, taller and leaner.
It’s a common alignment problem: ROTATION. Rotation issues can cause dysfuntion such as hip pain, back pain, and knee pain. Where does it come from?
Who knows exactly. Maybe you crossed your legs the same way every day for years on end. Or your dominant hand/leg has taken over your non-dominant side, creating a natural rotation in the body. A shorter leg can cause these issues, as well as something simple like sleeping on the same side for years on end.
It’s important to figure out what is causing the rotation. However, even more important, is to learn exercises that will bring you back to balance.
When I’m working with a client who has rotation, I address it one of two ways, and a visual assessment helps me to determine which approach would be the best solution.
Some clients present their rotational imbalance in their thoracic spine (the midback area). A strong dominant hand, or consistent purse carrying or backpack carrying on one side, can exacerbate this problem. For exercises to address this problem, you can try this stretch:
Often times the rotation actually presents heavily in the hips. This is sometimes causes by leg length discrepancies, excessive leg crossing, or by sports such as golf or baseball.
For hip imbalances, I introduce a new exercise based on an old yoga posture. I call it Wall Triangle, and it can be a powerful exercise when done correctly.
1. Stand against a wall with the right heel against the wall. Externally rotate the left leg and place it 2 to 3 feet out to the side with the left foot parallel to the wall. (check it out: my foot is NOT parallel in this picture. My left foot needs to be turned out more. Shame on me!)
2. Make sure both glutes are against the wall. Bring the arms out to a T position, placing the head, both shoulders and hands against the wall.
3. Lean the upper body down to the left as far as you can, keeping the hands, shoulders and glutes up against the wall.
4. Use your abdominals to stabilize and hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute .
Now, I must CAUTION YOU! This exercise can be very challenging to hold and can create some powerful change in the body. If you are feeling any discomfort, back out of the exercise and try holding a shorter period of time, or don’t lower your upper body down too far. The most important piece of this exercise is the glute alignment on the wall, and the feet and leg positions.
You can watch a quick video description here:
Give it a try and please comment below on how it felt. I read every comment and respond to every email I receive!
Standing desks are becoming so popular, and that makes this posture geek so happy! I actually have a full sit/stand desk that I use on a daily basis.
In fact, I’m getting a device that will turn any desk into a sit/stand desk delivered to my home next week. It will be installed on the non sit/stand desk in my office. I’ll try it out and write a review for all of you! The cost of this particular product is far less than buying a full desk.
In the meantime, for those of you who have standing desks already, I created some standing exercises for you to do. “But wait”, you ask, “if I’m standing, this is much better that sitting, so why would I need desk exercises?”
The reason that “sitting is the new smoking”, is due to inactivity. Our bodies need and crave activity. Yes, standing is overall better for your hips and pelvis and requires more muscle activation. But moving throughout your day (versus standing stationary for hours on end) is really the best thing for your body.
So yes, you need exercises for your standing desk. Luckily I have 3 easy easy exercises for you published on the Autonomous website right here.
Take a read, and give them a try, and let me know what you think! These are quick and easy and can be done anywhere!
How many of you have standing desk options? I would LOVE to hear what brand you have, what you spent, how often you use it, and what you think overall. Inquiring minds want to know so comment below!
The technical term of today’s post is called “disassociation of your leg from your hips”.
What in the world does that mean?
In plain english; it means learning how to stabilize your hips and move your femur (thigh bone) up and down and around, without letting that movement affect the positioning of your pelvis.
Why in the world is this important?
Remember, last week we talked about my friend who threw out her back lifting her laundry basket? I gave you “step one” on strengthening your core by doing an exercise called “grounding”. Today, I talk about pelvic stability and how it can minimize excess movement in the lumbar spine.
Let’s look at a picture.
This is a picture of a hip replacement. I’m using it here to illustrate a point: Your leg is attached to your pelvis via a ball and socket joint. This means that your leg has the capability to move around, without excessive movement from the rest of the pelvis.
However, many times in my career, I have run across clients who have no idea how to do this. I make them lie face up, and put their pelvis in neutral position (watch this quick video if you have no idea what I mean when I say “neutral pelvis”). I’ll tell these clients to bring their leg up in a bent knee or straight leg position, without moving their pelvis. They will, but they compensate by pushing their lower back into the mat, and thus moving their pelvis. I’ll correct them. I’ll even place a hand beneath the lower back to prevent movement. Still my hand will get squished because the pelvis moves.
What they don’t realize, is that every time they move their pelvis, there is movement happening in their lumbar spine. Now, it’s ok to move from the lumbar when needed. There are other times when we want to minimize movement from this part of the spine. If we don’t know how to minimize this movement, and our default position is to always move the lower back, well, that’s how dysfunction begins, and pain follows.
So, let’s do an exercise that focuses on stabilization of the pelvis, and mobilization of the legs. There are two versions. The first is a great “preparatory” exercise:
If that’s easy for you, and you KNOW you are not moving your pelvis, you can advance to the full version of the exercise!
The second exercise should be harder, and maybe even make your stomach muscles quiver. If this happened, email me back, as I want to know about it! Stat!
You may feel your thighs working in this exercise, which is ok. But, I really want you to focus on pulling in your abdominals and not letting them pooch out. You’re ALWAYS welcome to shoot a video of yourself doing any exercise and send it my way. I’m happy to give you corrections on your form!
As always, give it a try and comment below to tell me how it goes.