The Posture Post    August 17 2011

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20 Burpee
30 Dumbell Push Press 
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30 Dumbell Push Press
20 Burpee

The Posture Post

Posture has become this idea of something that we know we should put effort toward, but we don’t. Our day to day posture may be causing us more problems then we realize. The human body adapts to its surroundings and it does this in an effort to minimize energy expenditure, or efficiency in living. What does this mean?

Let’s look at Joe. He works 9 hours a day as an accountant. He sits and types for 8 of those hours. That’s 1/3 of his day. He also sleeps 8 hours a day. There goes another 1/3. Let’s look at his posture during those hours.

At work Joe sits in a big comfy rollaround chair. He sits pretty close to parallel as far as depth. Ok, so that’s no problem we do that when we squat everyday. That’s true but look at Joe’s spine while he’s sitting. His back is rounded severely. And his shoulders are slumped forward as he reaches towards the keyboard. His head is forward as well as he focuses on the screen. Maybe his head is tilted to hold the phone between his shoulder and his ear. That’s the position Joe’s body stays in for 1/3 of his day give or take a few breaks.

Joe goes home and climbs into bed to go to sleep. He rolls over on one of his shoulders, probably the same one he rolls onto every night, and falls asleep. He may move around a bit as the night goes on but for the most part he’s in the same position. Imagine his neck being in a leaned over position all night as he lays on his shoulder. Oh, and then there’s all the pressure that’s on your shoulder now. His spine is flexed all sorts of ways laterally and his hips are far from neutral. That’s Joe’s body position for another 1/3 of his day.

Now recall that we said that the body’s end goal in adaptation is efficiency in living. In other words putting out the smallest amount of energy possible at any given time. If Joe’s body is in these strange positions for the majority of his life, or 2/3 of it, his body is going to begin to adapt to these positions. Some muscles are going to shorten, others are going to be stretched and weakened, and things are going to get ugly very quickly. This is why range of motion, and maintaining range of motion, is so important.

Unfortunately, overcoming these problems that have developed over years takes a significant effort. It’s going to require dedicated time but it is doable and very rewarding. Stay tuned for how….

What positions do you commonly find yourself holding?

  • Davis Hart

    Time for an iPosture! Or maybe Nicole standing at my desk all day yelling at me would suffice.

    Does anyone use a standing desk?

  • Anonymous

    Great post Shane.  It’s true, I go to CrossFit each day and think I’m doing great stuff for my body, which I am, but my posture as I write this is TERRIBLE.  I felt like I was reading about myself when I read about Joe and I got squirmy in my chair!

    I think I’m going to set a “posture alarm” on my computer to beep every 10 minutes to make me check back in on my sitting form:).

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I like it!  Speaking of Apple products…hey all the tech folk at Roots, when is the new iPhone coming out???  

  • collin

    I find myself holding an Iron Cross at various points throughout the day.  Should I be worried?

  • Anonymous

    4pm on Thursdays added to the class schedule.  Starting…tomorrow!  :)

  • Fraseronly

    Which new iPhone ? 5 ? word is September, but its more like 4.5 not really that much different than the 4. The real q is, for iPhone do you go to Verizon or stick with ATT ?

  • Eric

    Verizon almost always works from our house. ATT dropped every 3rd call so we had to switch when we moved here. Nicole’s DroidX sucks, maybe we can find a used iPhone4

  • http://www.facebook.com/shane.upchurch Shane Upchurch

    Hah, actually this is one idea we’ll discuss in upcoming posts about posture.

  • Sampo

    I am a huge fan of my Geekdesk. I spend most days standing, and if sitting change the height all day long.

  • Michael Asnes

    I’m going to play devils advocate for a bit. Doesn’t this post also imply that by bettering our posture we become less well designed for tasks that originally created said poor posture? If Joe want to sit for long periods of time in your average desk chair, is he better off keeping his general poor posture? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/shane.upchurch Shane Upchurch

    Yes, if you wanted to spend your life living in a desk chair this posture would probably be most efficient.

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