How Bad Posture Affects Health and Performance | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How Bad Posture Affects Health and Performance

April 30, 2013 | Joey Greany

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

Does your job or your lifestyle cause you to sit for long periods of time? Do you have neck or low back pain? If so, chances are a contributing cause is poor posture. (Learn how to fix forward head posture.)

Humans are designed to be on their feet working and gathering food—not to sit at a desk all day. When we sit for long periods of time, some of our muscles may tighten and others may become dormant or inactive. When this occurs, we might experience joint impingement, dull aches and pains and a decrease in strength and power, because our skeletal structure is pulled out of line.

Poor posture also alters the neuromuscular system. It 
automatically selects overactive, tight muscles to produce movement, a process called reciprocal inhibition and synergistic dominance. For example, when sitting at your desk, your hip flexor (psoas) muscles may become tight. Neural activity in your gluteus maximus decreases, and other smaller muscles, such as the hamstrings or low back muscles, must compensate.

Once this alteration occurs, it starts a never-ending injury cycle. Altered joint mechanics result in faulty movement patterns, which leads to an injury and a potential trip to the ER.

How to Fix Problems From Bad Posture

First, identify the problem area. Is it your neck, low back, hip, shoulder or knee? Since the body works together as one unit to produce force, reduce force and dynamically stabilize in all planes of motion, it may be harder than you think to identify. For example, you may have shoulder pain, but the cause might be at your ankle. Or a lack of strength in your posterior stabilizer muscles might be the culprit. You can see how this can become tricky.

Identifying the problem area is obviously ideal, but the best thing you can do to prevent it from happening is to be proactive with your training. Follow these guidelines to fix or prevent bad posture.

  • Stretch and foam roll daily
  • Move more throughout the day; get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour
  • Select exercises that work multiple muscles and joints, such as Planks, Bridges, RDLs, Kettlebell Swings, Rows and Pull-Ups
  • Limit machine exercises to two per workout
  • Work the muscles that you cannot see when looking in the mirror, such as your back, hamstrings and glutes

Photo: memcachier.com/2012/07/26/22-standing-desk/

Topics: BACK
Joey Greany
- Joey Greany, MS, RSCC, CSCS, PES is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Certified Performance...
Joey Greany
- Joey Greany, MS, RSCC, CSCS, PES is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Certified Performance...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,305,185
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 7,134,231
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,193,833

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 297,020
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, or ACL, is the last thing you want to hear your doctor tell you that is injured. Even though you can live life without...

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention