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  • Trying to fix my posture

    Hey all,

    Does anyone have any idea how long this will take and even if it's possible?

    At the moment my posture's poor - too much sitting - the hip bone is tilted forward/down, which gives the lower back a big curve and makes the belly stick out. this is the main problem i think. the head is forward and shoulders are pulled around to the front, but I think that if the hip position is corrected then the rest will follow.

    I've got some good exercises to do to strengthen the core muscles, but mainly I'm after a more upright posture and a balanced physique. At the moment some muscle groups are overworked to compensate. Starting from last week I'm doing one hour, five days a week, of stretches and strengthening exercises. Mainly they're for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, stretching the hip flexxors, and strengthening the stomach. What are your thoughts on this.. is it even possible to change posture that much to make a difference (I'm 24, so not growing anymore)? And also if I'm sitting for a couple hours a day could that get in the way of progress?


    Thanks for reading.

    Randall

  • #2
    I'm no expert on this subject, but my other half is (he has formal training in massage and body work)... I'll try to pass along some of the things I've learned from him.

    a HUGE part of fixing the problem is being aware of it and making a conscious effort to hold yourself differently and to work on the muscles surrounding the problem areas.

    I have huge problems with my hips and shoulders, and when I spend the time to pinpoint problems and work on them - I look SO MUCH BETTER... the feeling better comes slightly later - the new, correct posture will not feel good/right at first.

    My (completely non-professional) advice is to see someone who specializes in massage or chiropractic or rolfing or? - have them help you work towards the body and posture you want - most of the work is on you, but I know I needed some adjustments from an outside party before I could make the changes myself.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by PrimalMama View Post
      My (completely non-professional) advice is to see someone who specializes in massage or chiropractic or rolfing or? - have them help you work towards the body and posture you want - most of the work is on you, but I know I needed some adjustments from an outside party before I could make the changes myself.

      +1....You can definitely work on balancing your muscles yourself, but persistent poor posture and old injuries can create joint and nerve issues that you may need some help with correcting. Yes, you can change your alignment and posture....just like diet it's never to late to improve on your structure and function. It will take several months as ligamentous creep and fixing muscle imbalances takes time.
      Last edited by Neckhammer; 10-27-2012, 12:53 PM.

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      • #4
        I still get lazy and slouch sometimes, but a lot of my back and posture problems both went away when I started doing Convict Conditioning, especially the pullups. I had a very weak upper back in comparison to my chest, and the pullups have started to fix it.

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        • #5
          Good advice so far. Being aware is key. I drive a lot and just making sure to keep my head against the headrest makes a big difference. Also pay good attention to the T-spine....

          Thoracic Spine Mobility - New Joint Mobility exercise - YouTube
          SixStringStrength.com

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          • #6
            Those lady core fitness classes are pretty good for teaching good posture.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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            • #7
              An amazing book called PAIN FREE by Pete Egoscue. He is amazing. Check out his book. It is not expensive. My doctor was complaining to ME of back pain. I recommended this book to him and now he writes it on a prescription pad for his patients.
              Start weight 182
              weight now 162
              goal weight 132

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              • #8
                I have a daughter with a lot of congenital conditions (weak muscles among others), which we are in constant therapy for, so I get the weak muscle stuff. Coming from this experience, here is what I recommend (not in any particular order):

                1. A really good chiropractor. I use one myself because I am in the car a lot driving this disabled daughter to her appointments, and that throws my back into disarray.

                2. A really good licensed massage therapist. Just discovered this one. He/she will zero in on those really tight spots that shorten muscles. Hurts sooooo goooooood...

                3. A visit/evaluation with a good physical therapist, who can ensure that your problems aren't something surprising (like weak ankles - that will throw your whole gait and posture waaaaay off), and also he/she will teach you what exercises will strengthen that core. In back problems, it is usually core, core, core work all the way. Also, a PT will tell you what equipment (like seat wedges, for example - not expensive) and lifestyle modifications will be helpful in remediating a long-misaligned posture.

                And - be patient. Bad posture can definitely be corrected, but it takes time if you are tackling this at age 24 for the first time. Very glad to hear that you want to take this on - you will feel so incredibly much better. Schlumpy posture affects a LOT, including the quality of the breathing you do (daughter has a harder time with speech problems because her schlumpy body position compacts the chest/diaphragm and restricts air amounts).
                I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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                • #9
                  I have huge problems with my hips and shoulders

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by randallfloyd View Post
                    Hey all,

                    Does anyone have any idea how long this will take and even if it's possible?

                    At the moment my posture's poor - too much sitting - the hip bone is tilted forward/down, which gives the lower back a big curve and makes the belly stick out. this is the main problem i think. the head is forward and shoulders are pulled around to the front, but I think that if the hip position is corrected then the rest will follow.

                    I've got some good exercises to do to strengthen the core muscles, but mainly I'm after a more upright posture and a balanced physique. At the moment some muscle groups are overworked to compensate. Starting from last week I'm doing one hour, five days a week, of stretches and strengthening exercises. Mainly they're for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings, stretching the hip flexxors, and strengthening the stomach. What are your thoughts on this.. is it even possible to change posture that much to make a difference (I'm 24, so not growing anymore)? And also if I'm sitting for a couple hours a day could that get in the way of progress?


                    Thanks for reading.

                    Randall
                    As someone who has tremendously improved their posture, YES! It's very possible. You have something known as upper and lower cross syndrome, which most people who sit often have. Basically certain muscles, like your hip flexors are tight causing the muscles on the opposite side like your hip extensors (glutes) to be inhibited. You're going to have to attack this from all angles I think. Here's what's helped the most for me:

                    Kettlebells swings and turkish get ups are perfect to improve your posture. Swings correct lower cross syndrome. Turkish Get Ups loosen your shoudlers and correct upper cross syndrome. I highly reccomend them, but watch form and do less than you think you can till you know you're doing it right. This is my #1 tip. Do swings once a week and turkish get ups once a week. When I notice myself slouching now I just squeeze my buttocks together as if I'm doing a kettlebell swing. It instantly straightens my body out.

                    Pelvic alignment stretch from the 4 hour body. If this stretch helps you then you know it immediately when you stand up and start walking. “Get on all fours, knees under the hips, and remove all weight from one knee for 90 seconds to two minutes. Next, shift your weight about 4” to the outside of your support knee (frame 2) and rotate the foot in slightly as shown. In frame 2, no weight is on the left leg. Hold again for 90 seconds to two minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.” See the picture here, there are red borders around the stretch I'm talking about. Look at the other stretches from the 4 hour body that are in the same chapter as this one. They are all meant to fix the most common problems people have from sitting and they work great. Only takes about 15m/day.

                    I got an exercise ball to sit on as a chair. I don't use it all the time, but your hips are much more mobile on it. Bounce around and side to side and you stretch your hips while you sit.
                    Last edited by Jion; 10-28-2012, 07:48 PM.

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                    • #11
                      You can definitely change your posture. I did.

                      But there is more to it than strengthening and stretching weak areas, you have to teach your muscles from habit to be in the correct position.

                      The best overall activity for this is to lie on the floor with your feet up on a chair. The chair should be high enough that your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle. Lie flat on your back with your head on the ground. Keep your arms out around your waist, palms up at a 50 degree angle.

                      I do this position while I do my 30 minutes of meditation. It does wonders.

                      For a quicker fix, life face down on the floor. Then put your arms out in front of you, palms up and resting on an object about 8 inches high. Hold this position for 5 minutes. It will be tough.
                      An evolutionary psychologist takes a look at the psychology of ancestral living, and how to make our minds fit, healthy, and happy in the modern age.

                      www.thetribalway.com

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                      • #12
                        Have you considered sitting on an exercise ball or getting a trek desk (treadmill desk)? Maybe an inversion table along with yoga might help too.

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                        • #13
                          Pilates is a great way to improve posture. It's all core-based training that is very precise on how you should be positioning your body, including breathing properly. You learn body-weight driven exercises and are instructed not to move your body outside of its natural range of motion. Increased awareness of how it feels to move your body properly will slowly start to change how you carry yourself when you aren't working out. It's fantastic for building balance and strength.

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                          • #14
                            You can definitely fix bad posture at your age. I am 27 and working on the same thing. My posture went way downhill after starting my office job after college. Being an athlete, it is starting to cause some injuries. So I have mostly abandoned my current strength program and am working strictly on mobility and posture correction for the next couple of months.

                            Check out neanderthal no more parts 1-5 on tnation.com by Eric Cressey.

                            Tony gentilcore also wrote a 2 part article called deconstructing computer guy on tonygentilcore.com.

                            Read those two, follow their advice and watch as your posture beings to improve week by week.

                            I am two weeks in and seeing great results.

                            Good luck!

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                            • #15
                              Simple fix that you can do anytime, sitting or standing. Remind yourself "chin in" and be amazed at how everything aligns, shoulders drop, chest opens up, etc. Just make the correction every time you think of it. Consciously maintaining that position takes practice. Experiment with tightening your core as you do it.
                              Sandra
                              *My obligatory intro

                              There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

                              DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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