Foundation Postural Exercises

The following exercises are designed to create a foundation of postural awareness that can be translated into daily activities. Aberrant motion and motor patterns are generated and re-enforced with daily activities. These movement patterns are an unconscious behaviour. By providing access to these exercises we hope that through corrected movement patterns our clients can reduce the likelihood of injury. Some of the exercises also lay a foundation for more demanding exercises.

Posture Exercise 1 - Finding lumbar neutral

The purpose of this exercise is to understand the best position for the lower back when standing and doing forward bending. It is important to maintain a neutral curve through the lower back (lumbar) during standing and for the initial movement phase of squatting or forward bending.

Using your hands to feel lumbar movement, tuck your bottom under

Now stick you bottom out

Half way between tucking your bottom under and sticking it out is lumbar neutral.

While maintaining lumbar neutral bend your knees to go into a squat position.

Movement during the first 50% of forward bending comes from the hips.  The lumbar remains neutral.
Posture Exercise 2 - Supported forward bending

Place hands on the top of your thighs, gripping the thigh. Feet a little wider than shoulder width.

Use your arms to support your weight, slide your hands down to your knees.

Find lumbar neutral. Now rock back and forward on your feet until you find the ‘sweet’ spot of mid -way. Now you are balanced on your feet and your lumbar is stacked.

Now reverse the movement ‘squeezing’ glut max as you come up. (see exercise 5 to find glut max).

Make sure you pivot at your hips to gain the final upright position.

Posture Exercise 3 - Rotating your trunk and pelvis together

Elbows at 90 degrees feet shoulder width apart, lean against the wall. The idea is to rotate the trunk and pelvis together.

This is incorrect rotation. The pelvis is rotating ‘away’ from the trunk

The correct way. Imagine your trunk and pelvis are glued together and move as one. When rotating to the right swivel on the ball of your right foot.

The final position with the arm off the wall, the trunk and pelvis have moved as one. Go back to the wall and rotate the opposite way.
Posture Exercise 4 - Activating gluteus medius

Make sure hips and knees are bent place your thumb on your hip bone and fingers spread out behind.

Keeping your hand in position lift your top knee. As you do so you will feel your gluteus medius contracting.
Posture Exercise 5 - Activating gluteus maximus

Lying on your back feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Place your fingers on the lower fibres of glut maximus.

To activate glut max, imagine a coin between your butt checks. Squeeze your buttocks together to hold the coin. While maintaining the buttock squeeze, slowly lift your buttocks off the floor.

Lift your buttocks so your pelvis is level with your thighs. Control it down.
Posture Exercise 6 - Single Leg Squat

Starting with your hands out to your sides, as you take your leg back activate your glut max.

While keeping your glut max contracted move your arms to the front then bend your knee into a squat.

Keeping the squat position, move your arms and leg at the same time to the new position.

Repeat this same co-ordinated arm/leg movement to the new position. Repeat this sequence with the opposite leg. Control is the key. If you have a mirror use this to monitor yourself.

Posture Exercise 7 - Rising from chair

The first faulty position is keeping feet together

While keeping feet together the next fault is starting with lumbar flexion

The trunk is flexed forward at the lumbar (no longer lumbar neutral) & not the hips.

Still maintaining faulty lumbar flexion the hips are extended using the hamstrings not glut max

The final trunk flexed posture results from getting up from a chair using lumbar flexion.

Starting with the feet together the next move is taking the feet apart

Having feet apart provides a wider base for standing.

Using your hands as support, apply outward pressure on your feet (this helps activate glut max). Lean your torso forward with hip flexion not lumbar flexion.

Maintaining lumbar neutral & squeezing glut max the final upright posture is achieved with movement at the hips and not at the lumbar.