The Big Lie About Training Posture You've Been Swallowing Whole - Part 1

Aug 29, 2023
Ever wonder why, despite all the posture drills, your clients still walk in hunched over like they're searching for lost change? And in your mind, you are blaming them for their improper return? 
What if it's not your fault or theirs?
Let's be honest, the majority of our clients revert back to their old habits the minute they step out the door. And what do they do? They come back to you asking, "Why?"
If this sounds familiar, you're not alone—and there's a reason why this happens. And it has nothing to do with what you have done wrong, or what your client is not doing.
Read on to discover why the traditional biomechanical posture exercises method may not be offering the lasting results you have been taught to believe.
The End Goal:
Your clients won't just walk out with improved posture; they'll walk back in maintaining that same upright stance.
For years, the health industry has focused on physical adjustments and exercises to improve posture. From the FMS, Egoscue Method, and The Supple Leopard, to ergonomic chairs and posture-correcting exercises, the emphasis from the training industry has been on manual adjustments that deal with everything below the neck.
Who Controls Posture?
The Brain's Control Centers for Posture
Contrary to popular belief, posture is not solely a function of muscle strength or skeletal alignment; it's a complex interplay of neural mechanisms.
The brainstem, for instance, integrates vestibular inputs (related to balance), proprioceptive inputs (related to body position), and cognitive directives to reflexively control our muscles. This reflexive control is crucial for maintaining stability during movement.
As a personal trainer for 25 years, before I understood what the neural mechanisms of the brain controlled, I would work on postural muscles ad nauseam for myself and my clients.
Knowing it was the catalyst for decreased pain and better movement quality, and it worked if we are honest, less than 20% of the time. And many times, the chronic pain always comes back.
That leads me to…
The Inefficiency of Current Methods:
Traditional training methods for improving posture often involve conscious effort, facilitated by the prefrontal cortex. That's fancy talk for;  you have to think about doing them to stand up straight.
This approach is fundamentally flawed because posture is largely a reflexive, involuntary action. The brainstem and other lower brain centers are primarily responsible for postural control, not the prefrontal cortex.
Therefore, consciously "trying" to stand straight can be counterproductive and may not yield long-term results.
Training the brainstem, and knowing how to assess that, is as easy as learning the FMS and all the accessory exercises to enhance the movement deficiency.



What's Next in Part 2?
In Part 2, we'll dive deeper into the practical applications of these groundbreaking principles. We'll explore specific exercises and activities that can help you and your clients relearn reflexive controls for better posture.
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