Â POSTURE ALERT from â€œTHE POSTURE LADYâ€:Â I have some very important posture tips to help gymnasts improve their skills and presentation and to help them prevent injuries.Â Share the information below with each and every gymnast that you work with!Â
Hello. My name is Kris Merlo Robinson, PT, better known in the gymnastics world as â€œThe Posture Lady.â€Â Posture is the way that you hold your body as you sit, stand and move.Â It is the position of all the joints of the body at any given moment.Â My friend Florence Kendall, a well-known physical therapist, said, â€œGood posture is a good habit.â€Â Have you ever noticed that when you stand slouched in poor posture, itâ€™s like a habit that you have?Â It may feel comfortable to you, but itâ€™s not correct.Â I will teach you more about correct posture, so that you can make good posture your habit!
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) states that good posture is important because it helps your body function at top speed, with efficiency and endurance, without fatigue, muscular strain or pain.Â For the gymnast, this means performing at a higher skill level with poise and confidence.Â Furthermore, a gymnast with good posture may prevent injury to his or her body.
A physical therapist has special skills to test and treat problems with posture, but you can check your own posture to some degree.Â You may need help from your coach, parents, or teammates to check your side view posture.Â A photograph in this position would give you immediate feedback about your posture.Â How do you line up?Â Correct posture while standing means forming a straight line between your ankle, knee, hip, trunk, shoulder and ear.Â There are three normal curves in the back:Â 1) the cervical spine (neck), curving slightly forward, 2) the thoracic spine (upper back), curving slightly backward, and 3) the lumbar spine (lower back), curving slightly forward.Â These curves should be held correctly while standing or sitting.Â The APTA notes that when these curves are out of balance, certain segments of the spine (vertebrae) are put under stress and may become painful.Â
GOOD POSTURE:Â Â
Â Â â— knees straight
Â Â Â â— low back curved forward slightly
Â Â Â â— upper back erect and chest held slightly up and forward
Â Â Â â— shoulders in line with ears
Â Â Â â— chin tucked in
Â Â â— knees â€œlockedâ€ backwards
Â Â Â â— low back arched forward too much (lordosis), causing the abdomen to protrude
Â Â Â â— upper back rounded with chest sunk in
Â Â Â â— shoulders pulled back too hard or slouched forward
Â Â Â â— head slumped forward
Note from the APTA:Â When testing for normal curves of the spine:Â stand with your back to a wall, heels three inches from the wall.Â Place one hand behind your neck and the other behind your low back.Â If there is too much space between your back and the wall (if you can easily move your hands back and forth more than an inch), you need to correct your posture.
Correct front and back view posture means the knees, hips, and shoulders are level, the spine and head are straight and the body weight is distributed equally on both feet.Â Stand in front of a mirror and/or have someone look at your alignment.Â Again, how do you line up?
Â Â Â â— ankles straight
Â Â Â â— kneecaps face straight ahead
Â Â Â â— equal space between arms and sides
Â Â Â â— arms relaxed at sides with palms facing towards body
Â Â Â â— shoulders level
Â Â Â â— head held straight
Â Â Â â— ankles roll in so that arches go flat
Â Â Â â— kneecaps face toward each other or face out
Â Â Â â— trunk shifted
Â Â Â â— arms turned so that palms face back
Â Â Â â— one shoulder high or both shoulders shrugged
Â Â Â â— head tilted, rotated or chin up too high
Develop good posture or maintain good posture by practicing until it becomes a good habit.Â In Mrs. Kendallâ€™s words, â€œbad posture is a bad habit.â€Â According to the APTA, if you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned and your joints, muscles, and ligaments take more strain, increasing the risk of injury.Â Good posture only has one appearance, but poor posture comes in many unattractive styles.
To improve or hold good posture, think about keeping your chin tucked in, your shoulder blades gently pulled down and back, and your abdominal muscles pulled UP and IN as you sit, stand and move.Â Avoid â€œlockingâ€ your knees backwards, remember to tighten your buttock muscles, and distribute your weight evenly on your feet.Â These are general exercises that can be done throughout the day. Constantly strive to keep good posture while working out in the gym!Â Check your posture TODAY!
If poor posture muscle problems arise and are outside of your experience and competenceâ€¦seek help from qualified medical professionals.Â Â Â Â