In this post I am going to discuss how our standing posture can effect our athletic performance. You may think posture is a boring subject or an obvious culprit to affecting your performance. But I am going to tell you that its an easy fix. And I am all about the easy fix for getting more out of my performance.
The main issue we have with our posture is that it is an unconscious act, our bodies are really quite incredible at learning and then making an act unconscious. However juts because the brain has decided that something is learnt and can be handled as an unconscious act, does not indicate that we got it right.
If we think about the way that we learn our upright posture, it is through watching others, copying and trial and error. If we compare this to when we learn a new skill in our roller derby training we can go through many phases and often find that our perceived correct copying of a skill can be in fact false.
Alignment And Common Dysfunctions
In the below images we can identify common dysfunctions with our posture alignment. The arrows indicating the way the portion has moved out of alignment.
So lets talk those through and what they mean for us; in the following video I discuss where the common dysfunctions come from and what a good posture should look like.
So the before discussed dysfunctions with our upright posture can have a similar effect on our skating posture and this is where its starts impact our athletic performance.
First of all lets look at the Exaggerated Anterior Tilt. As I demonstrated in the posture video this leads to us holding our weight in the balls of our feet. If we always hold our weight forward in the balls of our feet it is going to be very challenging for us to shift that weight back into our heels.
When we look at performing a lot of our skating skill for our sport it involves us shifting our weight into our heels.
If we want to be stable and able to withstand impact which is our sport tends to come from behind and our weight is forward due to our exaggerated anterior tilt at the pelvis we are likely to move or fall forward on impact and find it very difficult to counter that impact.
As well as that with an exaggerated anterior tilt we are more likely to have a tippy bird posture in our skating stance as we like to lock our knees back which doesn’t lend itself to bending the knee.
Now lets look at the characteristics the Exaggerated Posterior Tilt. We will find it very difficult to adopt a squat position with an exaggerated posterior tilt as in order to squat we need to move into a slight anterior tilt position. This will find us in a very upright skating stance which will in turn not allow us to be able to perform a solid stopping form or give us a strong base for receiving impact.
Slouching and rounding of the upper back will also have an affect on your ability to strengthen the shoulder joint, so we may suffer difficulties with bracing and injuries in the rotator cuff or serratus anterior as these tend to have a loss of mobility.
Our poor posture can also lead to us being more injury prone, especially in areas such as the knee’s, back and shoulders.
Postural Effects On Core Strength
In this previous post ‘What Is Core Strength’ I discuss the importance of core strength on our skating performance. One of the main issue with our posture on our athletic performance is actually our reduced capability to strengthen the core.
If we look at the common exaggerated anterior tilt present in the pelvis then we will nearly always find an inactive transverse abdominis (tva). This plays a very important role in our core strength, when we find ourselves caught in a excessive anterior tilt, the TVA switches off.
If we then perform exercises to strengthen our core with this posture dysfunction we will be missing the deepest layer of core muscles. Which would be like building a house without the correct foundations. This is then more likely to lead us to injury or pain rather than strength and improved performance.
A good indicator that you have this weakness is when performing supine (lying on your back) core exercises you struggle to keep a flat back. This is because we need to move into a posterior tilt to bring the back in contact with the floor.
Posture and Sport
When we fix our posture we also fix the connection with our body, through our upright posture being a completely unconscious act we loose the neurological connection with our muscles. So when we want to learn and perform skills we need to understand that connection in order to be in control of how we are moving.
So working on our posture and thinking about our posture as our starting point really helps us set ourselves up for success and aid our body in making the correct musculature pathways and therefore movement patterns.
When we can be in control of how we stand we can be more in control of how we move and therefore improve our athletic ability.