Suna's tips for great posture October 08 2015

Suna Pilates Director of Pilates and Master Trainer Susie Cleland, has taken the original basis of Joseph Pilates’ exercise and has incorporated learning’s from biomechanical and anatomical research as well as years of hands on development in the studio to become the clear leader in Pilates programmes.

I am often asked for tips on posture – so I’ve detailed below my top tips for golf, rowing, running, walking and plain old sitting at a desk.

Our very good friend Brendan Telfer has insisted that I post my top 3 tips for a great golf swing! So here you are Brendan!

Top 3 Tips for Golf Posture

  1. Initiate movement from your core abdominals – exhale and deflate/compress the lower abdomin just before you swing, stabilizing your torso and giving more power to your movements
  2. Neutral spinal position from pelvis to neck – set up correctly standing then lean forward maintaining lengthened. To find your neutral pelvic position standing, try tilting the pelvis back and forward until the pubic bone and hip bones are parallel on the frontal plane, making the pelvis seem “flat” to the front
  3. Knee tracking – knees need to bend in line with where feet are pointing, obscuring the feet by the knees from a standing position. Don’t let the knees turn inward as the muscles at the back of the legs and glutes won’t be able to function correctly

We’ve had lots of runners in the studio recently and the classes they are doing are helping their posture and their running but they asked me for some specific tips to remember while running. So, if you are a runner try these things when you are running they will ensure that you are running in the correct posture ensuring that firstly you get the most out of your run and secondly that you minimise the risk of injuries.

Top 3 Tips for Running Posture

  1. Keep knees “tracking” in line with toes – if feet parallel (toes pointing directly forward) then knees should also point forward especially with bend. Incorrect knee tracking can cause many issues from shin splints to low back pain
  2. Make sure you are placing heel then toe. Feel the pull from heel to toe through the hamstring as the leg moves back. Many runners don’t get the heel down properly which can create issue in the achilles and correct muscle sequencing
  3. Cross crawl – set up the correct "twist" through the torso with your cross crawl patterning. As the left leg steps moves forward so does the right arm (creating twist). Not only beneficial for running ease and style but also for your brain. Many runners find running a great stress release – and this is why!

Walking is such a  great form of exercise – but to get the maximum out of it make sure you think of these tips while you are walking.

Top 3 Tips for Walking Posture

  1. Heel, toe, heel, toe… connect with the heel first with each step to activate the muscles at the backs of the legs and the glutes (bum)
  2. Think "pubic bone tilting up slightly toward bellybutton" – for most people this will pull the pelvis into a neutral alignment and get the low abs working while you walk
  3. Open chest – keep the chest open and the shoulders gently pulling downward. This will keep you using the abdominals and relax the often overused neck muscles

So many of us spend a lot of time sitting and leaning forward at computers – make sure you follow these tips for good posture.

Top 3 Tips for Sitting/Work Posture

  1. Sit with a neutral pelvic position – this is where the pubic bone and hip bones at the front of your pelvis are vertical when sitting. The tendency for most when sitting is to “slouch” back to a rounded back position where the hip bones are back from the pubic bone on your frontal plane
  2. Keep your chest "open" – commonly when sitting at a computer or studying we end up craning our necks forward toward our work which rolls the shoulders forward and puts a lot of pressure through the neck, shoulders and upper back.
  3. Keep both feet hip distance apart on the floor – crossing your legs will skew your pelvis causing tension up the spine. Adhere to these postural tips for sitting and you can work your core abdominals instead of overworking your low back while sitting

Rowing can hurt you back – so make sure you think about the following things if venturing into a boat!

Top 3 Tips for Rowing Posture

  1. Keep low abs active – pulling belly button to spine will protect the low back and stabilize the body allowing the mobilizing muscles more energy and strength
  2. Be aware of the shoulder girdle stabilizers and shoulder positioning – think “chest open” (keeping shoulder blades flat on back) and “shoulders down or arm pits to hips”. Keeping the shoulder girdle stabilizers active will give the arms more power and reduce the incidence of shoulder injury
  3. Keep knees in line with toes – if feet are parallel then knees should point forward when bending, in line with foot direction. Correct knee tracking creates more power from the legs up