A widespread myth is that to fix posture you must strengthen sets of muscles.
After spending time and money on strengthening exercises, people often wind up as stronger people with the same poor body position. The fallacy is that strengthening does not create movement. You do that yourself.
A physician wrote me that he has hyperlordosis from surfing, and is "working" to fix it. He had spent much time waiting for the exercises to "work." What he missed is that surfing does not cause it, and how you stand can be fixed there and then by deliberately, volitionally changing how you stand. How? Try Friday Fast Fitness - Neutral Spine in 5 Seconds.
In the comments to the post Prevent Main Factor in Back Pain After Running and Walking, a Division I athlete wrote:
"Thank you. I am a D1 athlete and have been struggling with back pain/extreme tightness when lifting and playing in the same day. I have known I had bad posture while running/walking for about 4 years, went to physical therapy for it, and still haven't changed it. I kept waiting for a certain exercise to suddenly "fix" me. Duh, what fixes me is ME CHANGING IT. Shocking."
When certain muscles are tight, it can feel normal to stand badly. Even though it is popular to talk about tight hamstrings changing posture, that is mostly an issue when sitting. When standing, two tight areas are most common, chest and front hip:
Tight front chest muscles make round-shouldered position feel normal. Round-shouldered positioning keeps the front muscles shortened, in a cycle of shortening and tightening. The upper back muscles over-lengthen. This is why the most common stretch of pulling an arm over the front of the body is usually counterproductive. To fix anterior (front) tightness start with understanding and doing the pectoral stretch, described in Fixing Upper Back and Neck Pain and stop promoting an already overstretched posterior shoulder with The Stretch You Need The Least.
Tight front hip muscles make standing badly feel normal. The front of the hip is pulled downward, tipping the backside outward in back. The lower back increases in inward curve in a painful posture called swayback or hyperlordosis. Many people stand this way without knowing it because they think standing with the hip tilted forward in front is normal or "cute." Much of modern conventional "fitness" encourages this unhealthy, unattractive bad posture.
Hyperlordosis is a major hidden factor in lower back pain. People may undergo months, even years of treatments, adjustments, shots, medicines, therapies for discs, sciatica, facet pain, and other pain without knowing or changing the cause - allowing a too large an inward curve to the lower back.
Moreover, tilting the hip forward reduces the Achilles stretch and reinforces bad movement habits. For a more functional Achilles stretch try Better Achilles Tendon Stretch.
Hyperlordosis is not a medical condition or unchangeable anatomy. It is simple bad posture that you can allow or change right as you stand. Neutral spine is not pushing the hip forward, just moving it enough to make it level. See a short movie in the post Friday Fast Fitness - Neutral Spine in 5 Seconds. To stretch the front hip, try these:
Fast Fitness - Quick Relaxing Hip Stretch.
Change the common ineffective way to stretch the front of the thigh and hip with Instantly Better Hip and Quadriceps Stretch
and Stretch While You Strengthen Legs.
Watch other people when they exercise, walk, and run. See how often you can spot the unhealthy overarched lower spine. See what to look for in the post Spotting Back Pain During Running and Walking - What Do Abs Have To Do With It?
Remember that stretching the hip and shoulder, and anywhere else, will not automatically make you stand right. You do that yourself using your own muscles and brain. Free exercise. Free fix.
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