Is My Posture the Problem?
Posture is a dynamic series of positions that have appropriate tension and looseness. It can be beneficial when considered part of your daily practice and at the same time could be detrimental when done incorrectly. Daily life health, longevity, breathing, sports movements, psychological demeanor, and the list goes on are all affected by the P word.
When I was growing up I can remember my mom always saying “Sit up straight at the dinner table”, but not really grasping the implications. So how do we best cue, coach, and execute a postural awareness for the big win of life?
Here is our list of some key factors that we use when we coach and with our own training. They will help in the sport of stand up paddling, skiing, and overall life vitality. We will start from the head down.
- The infamous chin poke earns #1 for our starting from top down postural review. It sets you up for impaired breathing, balance issues, and skeletal and muscle stress. The ears should form a straight line over your shoulders if you nail the corrected position.
- Rounded shoulders can be from a chin poke (chin forward) position. If this is not your case then check in if you have elevated and protracted shoulders and a collapse of your breast bones on your upper torso. Again all the harmful effects in #1 can manifest here also.
- Light engagement (awareness) of the abdominal and pelvic region are where mid structure integrity happen. Being aware of this activation and positioning goes a long way. It’s usually never a gross set of corrections, but a synergistic flow and slight cueing.
- Being able to feel quads and glutes engaging when paddling and skiing allows for efficient power generation and less stress on the upper torso. Do your knees collapse to the inside of midline? Do your glutes engage without using your lumbar spine? How is your time under tension for productive control being executed?
- How do the soles and ankles of your feet feel? Are they balanced and working towards supporting all of your body's upper real estate? Getting them engaged, strong, and flexible is the key for skiing and stand up paddle boarding.
- The flourishing finish ends with breath work! You can’t expect to hold your breath through the entirety of sport and advanced motion movements.
We hope these cues and skills get applied when you’re paddling, skiing, snowboarding, talking on your phone, working at your desk, etc. Don’t expect many years of challenged posture to go away instantly, but more so use these tips as a template. Posture will always be a work in progress and a daily reminder to take care of the machine that is your body.
Most injuries stem from faulty mechanics and thus, posture. When the joints and muscles are being strained at end range and beyond this is what causes problems. These faulty positions are the culprit! When we look at Michael Booth who represents Team Starboard his postural and joint awareness are clinically spot on. So the next time you go out paddling try maintaining efficiency and a clean, functional athletic posture. Less is more!