June 19, 2015. Sunday Times Of India
Many of us use weight training as part of our health and fitness regime and many of us have felt a pain in the shoulder, back or knee. We wonder that if we just continue to exercise, would that pain go away? Ultimately, our posture and core muscle activation are two deciding factors as to whether that seemingly minor exercise pain turns into something more significant.
A quick look on YouTube reveals any number of people in the gym with incredibly poor posture, but this is likely unintentional. The problems most people encounter is lack of knowledge regarding what constitutes good posture, what the appropriate core training exercises are, and how to integrate these two key components into their gym workout.
What is the definition of good posture and why is it important in your workout? Functional Manual Therapy defines good posture as one in which the body segments are aligned to allow efficient transmission of force through the skeleton to an appropriately positioned base of support. Good posture then allows for the most efficient muscle activation and minimizes risk of injury. This is particularly important when working out with weights as you are increasing the load on your muscles and joints.
When you see someone at the gym arching their back with bench press, pushing the neck forward with shoulder exercises or moving knock kneed with squats, you are seeing examples of poor posture that can lead to injury. What if this person tries to have good posture, but is just not able to maintain proper alignment during exercise? He or she may not have good core strength.
Most people at the gym know they should have good core strength and go about improving it by doing sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts and holding a heavy weight and twisting. These are exercises that can build muscle size but can also cause injury because their primary target is not actually the core muscles that stabilize and keep the spine healthy. Research has shown that automatic activation of core muscles, the small muscles closest to the spinal column, allows for larger muscles to function more efficiently.
It has also been shown that efficient core muscle activation can help alleviate pain in the knees, improve balance, decrease compensatory movements in people with arm injuries, and improve sports performance. This is not to say that you only need to exercise your core but that appropriate core training should be part of every exercise regime.
Functional Manual Therapy is the only physiotherapy system to define and be able to test efficient posture and automatic core engagement. The Functional Manual Therapist is in a unique position to help transform your weight-training workout. FMT provides the knowledge for you to learn good posture and training on how to automatically engage your core muscles, setting you up to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Steven Kofsky (PT, DPT, CFMT) is a Certified Functional Manual Therapist at VARDAN, a wellness initiative by The Times Group in association with the Institute of Physical Art, USA
Functional Manual Therapy™ (FMT) is a comprehensive approach to physiotherapy, which identifies and facilitates your existing potential through an in-depth examination and treatment of your mechanical capacity, neuromuscular function and motor control. Discover your potential to have less pain and function better with FMT!
To schedule your appointment at the VARDAN Centre (New Delhi):
SMS VFMT to 58888
Call 011-43580720-22 (9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday)
For more information, log on to www.vardan.in