One of the first things you should look forwards to as part of you training program is the quality of the movement. The fitness and posture assessment is an individualized health and physical fitness review of your current health situation, medical condition, lifestyle, activity history and selection of tests and measurements appropriate to your goals.
The purpose of the Assessment is to provide information regarding your current level, to identify any problems that could escalate during exercise and to prepare a base for designing the exercise program to fit your personal needs. It works well also as a reference point against which we can compare your progress, not mentioning the motivational element of such comparison.
Evaluation and Movement Screen
One area of the assessment is postural alignment and movement quality. As a Personal Trainer, one thing which I nearly always keep on my mind is the client’s posture. Why is posture so essential and how does your training results as well as daily life quality benefit from it?
Let’s have a look at the posture first. In simple words, posture is the alignment of your body and the interaction of the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems against gravity. Gravity applies force on your bones, joints, muscles and other soft tissue. Posture in its complexity distributes this force throughout the body.
Poor posture, over time often leads to joints, ligaments and muscles overstress which as a consequence results in pain and higher risk of injury.
Therefore, a Posture Assessment helps me to identify any postural distortions which are like to result from muscles imbalances.
Muscle imbalances are common and to higher or lower degree everybody has them. Most common imbalances come from prolonged sitting and sedentary lifestyle. Nearly everybody who walks the street, nowadays, has either hunched over shoulders, forward head, over arched lower back with abdomen pushed forward.
Too tight muscles in front of the shoulders, underused and weak muscles on the back, too short muscles in front of the hips and too long and too weak back muscles are mainly associated with sitting too long.
Over the years imbalances lead to structural changes of your skeleton, limited range of motion, increased risk of injury and severally compromised appearance.
On the contrary, proper postural alignment during standing, sitting allows you to move with less fatigue by reducing gravitational stress on your spine and the rest of the skeleton structure.
However, when coming to a gym, you are going to move a lot more that sit or stand. You need to make sure that the movements you perform are at the optimal alignment. If maintaining correct posture during standing is so crucial for your well-being, imaging the impact of your poor posture will have on your movements.
In a technical language my duty is to make sure that your musculoskeletal system is “optimally aligned at the proper length-tension relationships necessary for efficient functioning of force-couples and to allow for proper joint mechanics, effective absorption and distribution of forces throughout the kinetic chain to alleviate excess stress on joints, and to allow the kinetic chain to produce high levels of functional strength with optimal neuromuscular efficiency.”
This means that your only high quality of movement will provide you with the results you are looking for in the shortest time possible and the safest manner possible. Whether you want to put some muscles on, loss some weight or get stronger, only optimal movement will ensure the optimal results.
Your primary objective when coming to the gym must be: TO MOVE WELL. Recognize imbalances and postural distortion. Design a training program to address these imbalances and work towards restoration of the optimal range of motion through proper alignment and control as the first priority. Overload your movement progressively according to YOUR needs and abilities.
The purpose of the workout is NOT to get you tired. It is to make YOU BETTER.
Movements overload is a necessary factor to trigger progression, but overloading of the poor movement will only result in poorer movement.
Finally, your posture and movement quality is of the highest priority. When you move correctly, you are going to get the maximum benefit from each exercise and reach your goals sooner and safer.
Identifying the problem must be therefore the initial step towards correcting it.