Let’s be honest: our posture sucks.
And unfortunately, posture doesn’t only affect how we physically carry ourselves in daily life. It also affects the quality of movement, and therefore can increase our susceptibility to injury in the future.
Think about a car that needs an alignment. If our car alignment or car “posture” is off, it can increase tire wear, affects vehicle handling, and affects the car’s efficiency. In the context of a human body, our joints can become worn down, we compensate in our movement patterns due to pain (and therefore we produce dysfunctional movement that can cause more pain down the line), and it affects how efficient, strong, and mobile we are.
OK – so I’m not great at analogies, but basically, posture is a pretty big deal not just from an appearance standpoint, but from a functional standpoint.
In fact, the bulk of my patients I worked with in out-patient physical therapy were coming to us because of postural deficiencies. They didn’t know this was the case (for example, they might have just had neck or hip pain,) but it was absolutely something we tackled through a series of “corrective” or rehab exercises to get them functioning well on a holistic level.
The more we can reinforce these proper postural habits in daily life, the better. One way to do that is to actually make sure our weight training is supporting these new, healthy postural habits. This doesn’t mean our programming will be full of boring hip mobility drills, but it DOES mean we can start to challenge the body in novel ways that demand proper posture, but still produce gains in strength.
A basic postural drill is sitting with back straight, legs fully extended, back squeezed, feet flexed. If you’re new to it, feel free to use a wall (this will also help give you feedback on whether you’re sitting completely upright).
Once you’ve mastered it without weight, then we can start to challenge the system WITH resistance.
Enter the seated legs-extended kettlebell press.
(Psst… Wanna learn how to use kettlebells to improve your posture, get strong, and get lean? If you’re local to Orlando, check out the details HERE.)
Remember – you MUST be able to sit in this position WITHOUT weight before pressing something over your head. But if you have the proper mobility and stability to do so, this is an excellent movement to improve shoulder stability, improve core strength, and improve your posture.
Here’s the set-up:
– Sit on the ground with legs extended, slightly wider than hip width
– Maintain an upright spine, with core aggressively engaged
– Get the kettlebell in the RACK position
– Press the weight up overhead, rotating your arm as you bring it up so that your palm faces outward when it reaches the top
– Slowly rotate the weight back down so the bell ends up back in the rack position
– Do not round your back during this movement!
You can try 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of these, either with very light weight as a warm-up, or slightly heavier as part of your accessory work. You will likely not be able to press the same weight in this position that you would in standing, so adjust accordingly!
Ever wondered how to incorporate kettlebells into your training to get stronger, leaner and generally more badass in life? If you’re local to the Orlando, Fla area, I’ll be running a semi-private group training program in Altamonte Springs for people just starting out with the bell. We’ll swing, squat, and press your way to a stronger, leaner, healthier body. Starting September 19th, available for only a group of three individuals. Check out more details here > http://indulgentfitness.com/8-week-kettlebell-training-course/