Date: Aug 24, 2016
If you’re anything like me you’ve been watching the Olympics and commenting on the performances of the amazing participants. I especially like looking at the way these Olympians move their bodies and how their chosen area of expertise, in fact, molds their posture.
Considering that these “super” athletes are some of the fittest humans in the world, you might expect to find (and often do find) only healthy positioning. Not unsurprisingly, some sports actively encourage unnatural movement and posture. You can especially see the standard sway back with popped out ribs taught in gymnastics as Simone Bale poses here with her fellow American team member. Hyper-mobility of the lumbar or lower spine, in tandem, with flared ribs allow for incredible extended shapes whilst performing but making the connection to “real” life postural requirements is not always as simple for these star performers.
Conversely, if one watches a swimmer like Michael Phelps, his ability to anchor his ribs down and mobilize his arms at the shoulder is immaculate.
When this winning swimmer raises his arms over his head his ribs don’t pop out; instead there is an isolation of the arms from the rib-cage. Swimmers of Butterfly and breaststroke are notoriously prone to lower back pain. If done with limited postural awareness or reduced range of motion in the shoulder, the back repeatedly arches as the swimmer comes up for air, putting the spine at risk of serious injury.
It makes sense to link posture and range of motion to repetitive movement and that athletes who make it as far as the Olympics draw on alignment awareness that not only protects vulnerable parts of the body but also helps them perform faster or with greater attention to detail.
By arching the back and popping the ribs, a swimmer’s stroke is “dampened” and force is dissipated. Swimmers who keep their ribs anchored and their backs strong maintain, instead, as Esther Gokale says “a robust platform from which to derive their power…. which naturally propels them far ahead of their peers”
Make the Connection between a rigorous Pilates programme and your own sports performance by partaking in a sports specific session at Iso Fit.
See you at the Studio!