The word is Proprioception and I am going to explain it in this Move It Monday blog. You will not say Proprio-what?!? again after reading it.
It has been a while since my last Move It Monday post, but life caught me bad (but I am not complaining).
Even though it is not new news anymore, I would like to make it official here: I am now a certified Physical Trainer and I am on the way to becoming a NASM Personal Trainer. Now tell me: how cool is that?!? I am being excited!!! And busy… I still need to complete my 40-hour internship for my Physical Trainer course and combining it with my full time job, 4-5 strength training sessions per week, blogging, branding, social media and life has not been an easy task. But it is all worth it!
I entered a fitness room for the first time 20 years ago, at the age of 19. I have had great personal trainers supporting me in the different phases of my training and I have learned things such as proper form and how to avoid injuries from day one. Still, I have to say that I have even more aware of their importance thanks to my classes. One of the concepts I started to use actively was “proprioception“.
As per definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, proprioception is the “perception of stimuli relating to position, posture, equilibrium, or internal condition.” In simpler words, it is being able of self-correction and aware of the right posture for optimal training as well as for performing.
No matter what kind of physical activity you perform, you should be able to recognize the correct posture to execute exercises as well as be able to achieve that position without external help.
Now let’s think of all the people we know who swing weights like crazy and runners whose knees bump into each other, just to name a few examples. Some of these people, mainly those have always trained on their own, may spend their entire active life doing the “wrong” thing without even knowing it. And the worst of all is that they pay for that at later ages when their body start to show signs of the abuse.
It is not uncommon for me to be stopped by (older) guys at the gym with their advices on how such exercise caused them a certain injury. Part of it probably comes from the fact that as a woman I should not be lifting weights to start with and that I have no clue of what I am doing. Misconceptions apart, chances are at least part of their injures could have been prevented with a very basic check anyone can do before each workout.
There are 5 key checkpoints you should have in mind both inside and outside the gym that will help you improve your overall posture:
- Chin tucked in
- Shoulders down and back
- Pelvic tilt
- Knees between the second and third toe
- Feet forward
For those not accustomed to stand up properly, this may even seem to be an unnatural posture, however it is the other way around. By making this your normal stand, you will be relieving a lot of pressure from the nerves and reducing pain.
One of the ways you can get acquaintance with the right positioning of your back is by using a wall to help you assess your posture. Looking into the mirror is of great help for shoulder leverage for instance, but unless you twist your back, you will not be able to see certain deviations such as a lordosis, for instance. How hard (or easy) is it for you to get your back against the wall? How (un)natural does this position feel for you? If you do not have balance problems, you can do the same by lying on the floor. In this case, gravity will land you a hand.
There are various simple exercises that can help you out on your path to improve your overall posture. Even though we feel to lay low when in pain, in general, exercising can be The solution to your problem. If you are not sure what the best for you is, contact a physical therapist who will be able to assess your specific situation and indicate the best solution. When exercising is allowed, do not hesitate to hire a qualified professional to assist you with your training.
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NOTE: It was not easy to find an imagine to this blog. Models are modeling for the exception of professional fitness photoshoots. Frequently what looks good on camera for the general public is not exactly what people should be doing in real life when training. Keep that in mind when searching for exercises.
Image source: Slism