Unlock High Performance With a Better Posture
As a sports conditioning professional, I will share with you in this article some basics about how to unlock and improve high performance within your favorite sport, dancesport, by taking care of your posture.
Regardless of the style, dancing will take its toll on your postural alignment and hence on your performance.
Why is posture so important?
Because the body moves, rotates and flexes optimally, transferring the forces to and from the ground only when your postural alignment is optimal.
What are you losing by not having proper posture?
If you think you can afford to miss out performing at your best, consider that: first of all, you are subjecting your body to repetitive microtrauma and slowly but surely eroding your body with every training session. Most of us can get away with it for a while, but it’s like taking cash out from a maxed-out credit card. Also, when you lack optimal alignment, the recovery after practice takes place slower. So what I’m saying is that you could be optimizing your results, overall state of health and day to day level of stress by paying some attention to the foundation of performance which is optimal posture.
The paradox of dancing is that even though it’s beautifully designed in order to allow you to move with great efficiency by the time you get to that level of mastery where you move perfectly, you’ve accumulated so many compensation patterns!
What are compensation patterns? Compensation patterns appear when something is off in your technique (for example due to physical or mental fatigue during your training session). That means your body manages, thanks to its intelligence, to still execute the movement by sacrificing the correct and optimal recruitment patterns of muscles in order for you to perform a technique. Each time you overuse a muscle (like in a compensation pattern), it gets trained and thus stronger than the one which should be balancing it (e.g. your lumbar erectors are working harder when you need to hold your partner up). Not only that, the muscle gets facilitated. That means it will be even easier to activate that muscle and use the compensation pattern the next time you perform the movement. So unless you address your current imbalances because you think you can still perform in spite of them, they will only get worse.
Consider that in order to learn a new technique, to perform it well unconsciously, you need between 300 and 500 repetitions. But if by any chance you didn’t learn it perfectly from the beginning or you developed compensation patterns due to anything which is less than optimal in your training regimen… even during your day to day activities like forward head posture due to desk work or looking down on your phone, then it’s going to take over 3000 – 5000 good repetitions to unlearn the bad technique and learn the new one.
Key points which any professional athlete should know and implement in their practice are:
Stretching needs to be done in a scientific manner, in the correct order on well-determined muscle groups to restore optimal alignment of the major joints and elastic properties to the fascia (a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue) which binds everything in your body. Also, if done correctly, it will generate energy (due to the piezoelectric effect) and thus you will have more energy to invest in your training. And also less energy wasting by keeping muscle tone high in certain facilitated muscles (like your lower back muscles). In basic terms: you need to identify and stretch the exact muscle groups in order optimize your posture and improve performance
Breathing mechanics play a huge role in activating certain muscle groups. Bear in mind that breathing is the number one factor in determining your posture and your body will sacrifice almost every other body part in order to keep the breathing going. You would be surprised how many elite athletes have improper breathing patterns. Performance greatly improves once you re-train the breathing mechanics. In very basic terms, exhalation is coupled with going into the fetal position, while inhalation is coupled with the extension or spreading out of the body. So by learning how to take in air correctly and tie it in with your specific moves, then you get more energy in while increasing movement efficiency. And what makes every champ great is when they make it look easy.
Twisting the torso
Twisting your torso has a great effect on your digestive system. Also, a high volume of training can take its toll on the performance and health of your natural power plant (an engine or other apparatus which provides power for a machine, building, etc) and endocrine system. Training is catabolic, meaning it’s breaking down your tissue and depleting your energy. So by knowing when to include twisting motions which determine torso deformation, you will be able to better integrate your practice and recovery to keep your health optimal and your training efficient. Bear in mind that visceral health is vital to muscle function, meaning that the body will inhibit certain muscles in favor of keeping the organs going.
If the above information seems like the tip of the iceberg, it is! However implementing this to your benefit can be easier than you might think. Even a 3 minute breathing exercise coupled with gentle mobilization of your lumbar spine in a twisting motion can have a great effect lowering the effects of stress on your body and improving energy levels while at the same time unlocking the next level of performance for you.
You could be optimizing your results, overall state of health and day to day level of stress by paying some attention to the foundation of performance, your posture.
If you have any questions on how to improve posture, please leave us comments below.
Costin Glăvan is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He teaches people how to be in shape, to improve their posture and overall change! He loves changing people’s lives for the better with his motivation and know-how. You can reach to him at [email protected] Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CostinGlavan/ Website: www.costinglavan.ro