Here’s another question I get quite often: “Why am I not seeing results in my posture/performance/whatever?” Does my training program really work?
The answer? IT DEPENDS!
In all honesty, without seeing your particular training program, it’s hard to say whether that’s the problem. With in-person clients it’s pretty easy to discover issues as we work with their programming, or nutrition or training. If they aren’t getting results, most of the time it’s due to things they are doing OUTSIDE of the gym or work-out time versus what they’re doing during their training time.
For instance, imagine the typical computer programmer who comes to see me. Their hips are constantly in flexion, and their upper back and shoulders are slouched over. Even if I gave this person the absolute most perfect program and they executed it to perfection, they may not get results.
In general it’s due to the law of repetitive motion. Particularly when it comes to posture. I’m a stickler for healthy posture. Sometimes when I see someone slouched over, I just want to walk over to them and put them in proper alignment. They can’t possibly be breathing deeply.
As a strength coach, yoga teacher, and running coach I’ll bring your attention to your posture when we’re together and we’ll review your programs making sure that your quad dominant and hip dominant movements are balanced, and that your horizontal pulls match your horizontal presses. HOWEVER, it’s what you do the other hours of the day that matter, and they matter A LOT.
We too often forget to account for what we do all day everyday! That’s where the idea of repetitive motion comes in.
This is one of the many reasons I’m such a huge advocate for more soft-tissue and flexibility/mobility work. No program can overcome poor postures that you assume throughout the day.
Think about it for a second, do you really expect 3 hours in the gym every week to counteract the fact that you sit at a desk or in your car for 40, 50 or even 60 hours every week?
According to the research, adaptive shortening of muscles can occur in as little as 20 minutes; that means if you’re sitting at a desk for 8 hours every day, your hips are adapting to that position by getting shorter! This epitomizes the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
If you are really serious about getting yourself healthy, mobile and resilient, you absolutely must take into account the positions you’re in throughout the day and try to optimize them.
If you sit at a desk, get your hips in extension by performing lunge stretches. Or better yet, get a stand-up desk and cue yourself to tighten up your stomach and glutes while standing. Those of you who have been reading my articles for some time might recall that three years ago I gave up sitting at a desk while working!
If you drive all day long, set a timer on your phone to go off every 15 minutes that will cue you to sit-up straight and move around a bit. Fidgeting is not always a bad thing!
In essence, everything we do influences our posture and our performance. The question becomes is what you’re doing right now positively or negatively affecting it?
Make the conscious decision throughout the day to optimize your posture and alignment. Doing so will not only help you outside of the gym, but it will improve your performance in the gym as well.