Fix Your Posture to Maximize Muscle
By: Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S.
Without even looking at you, I’m pretty sure you have a posture problem. That’s because almost everyone I see has a posture problem. After years of evaluating clients at my fitness center in Indianapolis, I’ve learned to spot an anatomical abnormality from the way a guy walks through the mall, sits on a park bench, or stands at a bar.
The trouble isn’t just that slumped shoulders make you resemble a Neanderthal. Over time, your poor posture takes a tremendous toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that result in acute problems, such as joint pain throughout your body, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which can limit your ability to burn fat and build strength.
But don’t worry—all these problems can be corrected. Are you ready to straighten yourself out? Use this head-to-toe guide to make sure your posture is picture-perfect.
Analyze Your Alignment
Strip down to a pair of shorts and ask a friend to take two full-body photos, one from the front and one from the side. Keep your muscles relaxed but stand as tall as you can, with your feet hip-width apart. Now compare your photos with the illustrations below to diagnose your posture problems. Then see the following repair plans.