Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good Posture Helps Athletes Perform At Elite Levels

The cumulative injury cycle and postural distortion patterns are real problems that every athlete has to deal with at some point. You must correct your postural imbalances and dysfunctions as much as possible to enable your body to reach optimal strength, flexibility, balance and power.

If one component of the kinetic chain (muscular, skeletal, neural) is out of alignment, patterns of tissue overload and dysfunction will develop. This misalignment, if left uncorrected, will decrease your neuromuscular control and the cumulative injury cycle will begin.

Patterns of postural dysfunction are commonly called postural distortion patterns. Distortion patterns occur because the structural integrity of the kinetic chain is compromised due to the misalignment of one or more of its components.

To avoid postural distortion patterns, you must maintain optimum static, transitional and dynamic postural control. Static posture is basically your standing/sitting posture. Transitional postural assessments include: overhead squat tests, single-leg squat tests and single-leg balance excursion tests. Dynamic postural assessments include: sport-specific movements, agility tests, gait assessments and reaction time tests.

The cumulative injury cycle, which occurs because one or more of the components of the kinetic chain are out of line, follows this pattern:

1. Tissue trauma
2. Inflammation
3. Muscle spasm
4. Muscle adhesions
5. Faulty neuromuscular control
6. Muscle imbalances (less than optimal length-tension relationships). Muscles can develop maximal tension when they maintain optimal length. Muscle imbalances are caused by postural stress, pattern overload, repetitive movement, lack of core stability and lack of neuromuscular control.

When this cycle is completed, the kinetic chain can not have functional efficiency. When the neuromuscular system performs functional activities (body movements) with the least amount of energy and stress on the kinetic chain, functional efficiency is achieved.

Common postural dysfunctions are:

1. Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Postural Distortion
2. Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion
3. Lower-Extremity Postural Distortion

If you are an athlete, have your posture examined as soon as possible by a fitness professional. Your performance will suffer if postural dysfunctions are not corrected.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    Ya its really true.The good posture helps athletes perform at elite levels.



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