Whether you realize it or not, your day-to-day non-training posture has a huge impact not just on your mental and physical health, but on your athletic performance as well. You may know for sure that slouching is bad and that you should always be walking straight, but you may not know why this is important. The chances are high that you would pay much closer attention to the way you walk or sit if you knew what this may do to your mood and how limiting it is in the CrossFit gym.
Understanding the Origins of Posture
Sometimes, poor posture may result from injuries and accidents. However, a majority of the times sloppy posture may be the result of bad habits and environmental factors that are not within our control. For instance, if you hunch over at an angle of 60 degrees as you listen to proceedings or even read, the implications this has are similar to someone who carries 60 pounds of weight on their cervical spine.
Other factors that are linked to poor posture include being overweight, poor sleep support, muscular imbalances, occupational stress, and improper shoes among others. When we stand or walk incorrectly, our muscles and bones are lined up incorrectly, and this interferes with sciatic nerve flow, the nerve connecting the leg and foot muscles with the spinal cord. Because of this blockage, pain ensues at the back of your thighs, feet, and calves. Ultimately, this results in a condition known as sciatica.
Muscle and Joint Damage
Sitting for extended periods of time causes stress on your lower back muscles especially the ones on your posterior chain. This has the impact of exaggerating the natural arch of the spine causing hyperlordosis. Sitting on your butts weakens your glutes thus making them inefficient in performing their role of hip extension and stabilization. This limits your range of motion. When it comes to the Crossfit workouts, the effect of weakened glutes is directly translated to poor performance.
If you let poor posture dictate your CrossFit movement patterns at the gym, the damage to your joints and muscles can be exacerbated.
Impact on Athletic Performance
Since poor posture leads to stressed organs, damaged joints, muscles, and bones, it indirectly affects your performance on high-intensity programs such as CrossFit. It is therefore important as an athlete to ensure that your body is always healthy and operates properly for recovery and progress.
The elements of good posture include:
- Correct sitting posture – The ideal sitting posture is when your head is neutrally positioned while looking straight ahead. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and your elbows bent at 90 degrees on your sides. When working on the computer, try positioning the keyboard and raise the monitor to eye level.
- Recommended standing posture – Ensure your knees are bent slightly, and your arms naturally hanging down by your body sides and your stomach tucked in. When standing for a long time, ensure you shift your weight to your heels or from one foot to the other.
To achieve the above posture, there are recommended CrossFit exercises which include a downward-facing dog, hip flexor stretch, foam roller bridge, and thoracic spine opener.