What You Need To KnowWeight training increases physical performance, but it also requires a high body performance so as to be able to train harder and longer, and also to avoid serious injuries that may occur at the gym.
Depending on how you train, or who you train with, and what you have learnt up to now, you may or may not be aware of having a good posture. It's not so unusual for some people to be relatively unaware of the negative effects that a poor posture can have on their health. Apart from long-term health issues, bad posture will affect the benefits of your weight training, at some stage.
What Is Posture?Can you picture a powerful athlete? How does he look? How does he walk and move? What about how he sits? Look at his shoulders, his neck? What about his chest? Does his body seem fluid and balanced, as well as sleek and powerful?
If you can answer yes to these questions, most likely the athlete that you are visualizing has a good posture.
Posture is the way your body acts, or holds itself, or moves itself when in motion. It is an expression of the apparent physical composition of your body, and the actions of your muscles in different positions such as lifting, running, sitting, standing up and walking.
How Do Muscles Work?Muscles are very important tissues that are vital to our daily functioning and ability to do tasks. They are not only responsible for the strength of our bodies but also regulate body movements through controlling the skeleton, and also help us keep our bodies fixed in certain positions, as and when we need to do so.
According to signals sent from the brain to muscles, they act as rigid or flexible structures, which enable us to perform daily activities and exercise rapidly with highly coordinated movements.
They work as follows:
In children and teenagers, muscles depend on the sympathetic and parasympathetic never signals sent from the brain. However, often busy parents don't know a lot about good posture and the negative effects of bad posture on health. As a result, they don't teach their children about the importance of a healthy posture.
With age, certain deformities can occur in bones because of bad posture. Muscles still respond to brain signals but in consideration to these bone deviations. Imbalance occurs in muscles. Some are strengthened, others are weakened. Naturally the more you push your body, the more exaggerated this outcome can be. Of course this means that those of us who are into weight training, or any type of physical training, have on one hand a great chance to have a strong, fit body, but on the other hand can have a body that is compensating for postural issues. This can be disastrous over time.
So in order to avoid all potentially harmful postural issues and train successfully, let's check out some of the most common ones, in terms of weight training:
KyphosisMedically kyphosis exhibits the following symptoms:
The head being in a forward position
The back being exaggeratedly rounded
The shoulder internally rotating forward
The upper back (thoracic vertebrae) being rounded or hunched.
It may even be the origin of some tumors, congenital spinal deformities or arthritis. You must seek a medical help immediately in such cases.
But kyphosis is also a common and severe problem which accompanies weight training because of the poor lifting postures. It arises from an imbalance between the chest and back muscles.
Do You Have Kyphosis?Here's how to find out if you possible have kyphosis. Look at the mirror. Stand in front of it. Look at your chest; do you see it curved forward? Well, please look again at the mirror. Let's check your hands. Can you see the back of them? If you say yes, you may have kyphosis.
You can find tips at the end of the article to help you correct all postural issues.
Now you should know the effects of kyphosis on weight training.
It decreases your body's performance.
It decreases your ability to exercise.
It makes you feel tired quickly.
It increases the risk of injuries during weight lifting.
It causes shoulder pain and chronic back pain in the vertebral column.
It causes muscle stiffness especially in the neck and hip.
It affects the digestive system negatively. All upper part of your body presses on the abdomen, which makes your stomach and intestine not able to work effectively.
It causes difficulty in breathing and inefficient respiration since shoulders and head press on the thoracic region, and prevent lungs from expanding. As a result, your physical performance decreases.
It causes poor blood circulation, which makes you less active.
All your movements will be negatively affected such as squat, dead lift, bench press and pull ups.
Are there other postural issues?
Actually there are six other postural problems; two of them are related to weight training, which I will discuss next.
LordosisLordosis is also a common complaint that arises from extensive weight training which depends on sitting for a long time. It also arises during pregnancy. It means that the vertebrae at your bottom tends to stick out and you have an exaggerated inward curve in the lower back creating posture which is commonly called "Donald Duck".
It has the following manifestations:
Tight hamstrings - you will have severe contraction in your muscles. Your muscles won't be as flexible as normal muscles. As a result, you won't be able to exercise well, and the risk of injuries will also increase.
Lower back pain
You will experience a significant decrease in physical efficiency during exercise because you won't be able to use the gluts which are the strongest muscles in your body.
You will only use the lower back and hamstrings which are not efficient enough so as to lift the weight. That also increases risk of injuries.
Do You Have Lordosis?Do you have a frequent lower back pain which increases when standing for extended periods?
Does it decrease when sitting?
Do you feel contraction or tightening in your hamstrings when playing sports?
Well, stand aside a mirror and look at your buttocks. Do they stick out? Your abdomen protrudes, doesn't it?
Later I'll give you some tips to help correct lordosis.
ScoliosisIt also is common case in whereby the vertebral column laterally deviates (toward the side).
It causes one shoulder to be slightly lower or higher than the other one.
You know, how negatively this can affect weight training. If you do the traditional weight training, muscle asymmetry will be a strong possibility and the severity of scoliosis will significantly increase.
You also will be at higher risk of injuries during lifting heavy weights because of the imbalance in your muscles.
How to Correct KyphosisCertain exercises can correct kyphosis such as the ones that pull the shoulder blades toward each other and extend the neck.
Seated rows in a gym (or pull-ups)
Exercises for LordosisThese are exercises which can help you strengthen the glutes and hamstrings muscles:
Bridges (It strengthens both glutes and hamstrings)
Single leg hamstring flexion with ball (hamstrings, glutes).
Don't forget to sit less.
Other exercises which relieve pain arising from severe tightening (contraction) of the hip and stretch it:
Standing quad stretch
Kneeling quad and hip stretch
Exercises to Help Correct ScoliosisIt is preferred to do your traditional exercises but with lighter weights.
Adjust your shoulders manually before lifting and keep them balanced.
Apart from implementing these exercises, as we all know when our body feels good, we feel good. In a way your posture is a mirror which reflects your thoughts. Think about the first impression of a person who enters a room slouching. You may perceive this person to lack energy, be lazy or feel unwell in some way.
Your body and your thoughts are directly proportional to each other. One of them can improve the other one. Think about positive things, be self-confident, motivated and hopeful, know more about body language, and then you will see the results.
Be sure to correct any postural issues before training more, and to keep aware of your posture. This way you can continue to lift harder and become stronger, and build muscle.
More about RolandasRolandas Malinausakas is a fully qualified, highly experienced London personal trainer (PT) and a British Natural Bodybuilding Vice-Champion.
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) chose Rolandas as an expert voice in 2015, in a documentary investigation about the dangers of anabolic steroids. Rolandas brings a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge to his work, and he loves helping his clients to achieve the body that they desire.
If you wish to work with a great personal trainer, be sure to contact Rolandas for a free consultation at http://www.personaltraining4u.net
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