Thursday, May 29, 2008

Level Sight Lines Are Needed For Many Sports

For an athlete to reach optimal strength, flexibility, balance and power, postural imbalances and dysfunctions must be corrected as much as possible.

One common postural dysfunction is called the Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion. This distortion is seen in a person with rounded shoulders (chest caves in) or a forward head posture as shown below.

Flexibility deficiencies with this postural distortion include tightness in the upper trapezius, neck muscles, latissimus dorsi and chest muscles (pectoralis major/minor).

Common injuries include headaches, biceps tendonitis and shoulder injuries. Important core stabilization exercises for this distortion include prone cobras and cervical retraction.

Athletes who depend on level sight lines to be successful should correct this postural distortion as soon as possible. Because the head is not in proper alignment, this affects players in sports such as baseball/softball, basketball, football, lacrosse, tennis, etc. Hand/eye coordination will be affected if the athlete's sight lines are not level.

We hear about the glamourous attributes that athletes need like speed, power, explosion, etc. all the time. I would argue that posture also needs to be discussed in the same sentence as the other athletic attributes. It is impossible to have optimal speed and power if you have postural dysfunctions.

Every athlete needs a postural assessment performed by a fitness professional. Then, steps can be taken to correct them.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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