Why is Correct Posture Important?
Your spine functions best to transfer weight efficiently when it is in its neutral, or “S” shaped curve.
Identifying your posture is the first step to reducing fatigue by lengthening short, tight muscles and strengthening weak, under-utilised ones. When your muscles all work towards a neutral spinal position, your joints and muscles are least likely to experience pain or sustain injury. This is true for both standing and sitting positions.
The Vertical Compression Test
The vertical compression test is used to test your posture’s stability and also its area of greatest weakness. It can tell you which muscles of yours need to be strengthened and which need to be stretched.
Stand in a relaxed position with your feet hip width apart.
Have a friend place their hands on top of both your shoulders and apply force.
If your postural alignment is not correct, the way you buckle will indicate what you need to strengthen and what you need to stretch.
Upper Back and Neck Forward Posture
If you stand with your upper back and neck forward you will probably buckle forward when the compression test is applied. This is also known as kyphotic posture. Your chest muscles and the muscles at the back of your neck are tight from doing most of the work of holding you upright.
Needs stretching: You need to open the muscles of your chest.
Needs strengthening: You must strengthen the muscles of your upper and lower back.
If you have swayback, you will probably arch backward when the compression test is applied. Your spine is not distributing the weight properly to your muscles and joints.
Needs strengthening: Adjust your posture and drop your ribs to bring your upper back forward.
Needs Stretching: Stretch your hamstrings and broaden your shoulder blades out to the sides.
Implications for Sitting
Strengthening and stretching your muscles as your posture type requires will improve both standing and sitting posture. Understanding your postural strengths and weaknesses is an important step in preventing fatigue and injury when sitting for long hours on a cumulative basis.
Lessons for Every Posture Type
Remember that static posture is fatiguing for your muscles even if your spine is in perfect alignment. Regardless of your posture, You must frequently alternate positions.