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        Bad Posture Can Be A Slippery Slope

        Bad Posture Can Be A Slippery Slope

         

        Let’s examine the possibility. You don't work out or participate in sports. You're not a frontline worker. You still experience back and shoulder pain often. How can this be?

         

        It all gets back to the idea of postural muscles. Sitting all day long can be very bad for your back - particularly if you have bad posture. It’s true that this primarily involves your lower back and core muscles. 

         

        However, bad posture can be a slippery slope. If poor posture makes you uncomfortable and you compensate for it by contorting yourself in your seat, or walking and moving in unnatural ways, it can throw off those muscle groups as well.

         

        Of course, one solution - or one part of the solution - is correcting your posture. Doing stretches before and after long sitting spells can also help to loosen your back muscles so that they become less tight. Limiting how long you sit for by taking breaks to walk short distances - even if it’s just pacing around the room - can also help.

          

        However, taking up some physical activity can do the most good. Strengthening and developing your back muscles can make them more resistant to injury, but having a more developed muscular system can also help to passively improve your posture so that these issues are less likely to become issues in the first place.

         

        And remember, working out to prevent back and shoulder injuries doesn’t just mean working out your back and shoulders - particularly if the problem is from poor posture rather than overuse. Instead, think about your core and your thigh muscles as well.

        Balancing Your Back & Shoulder Workouts

        Balancing Your Back & Shoulder Workouts

        Post in collaboration with How to Bulk Muscle

        Even if you don’t typically do the motions described in our previous posts, you can still experience back and shoulder discomfort, pain or even run into serious problems with your muscles and joints.

         

        As we’ll be exploring throughout much of the rest of this article, many of your back muscles are postural muscles. That means that misalignments in your body can cause discomforts in your back muscles and that mismanaging your back muscles can cause severe problems with your bones.

         

        If you are a weightlifter who targets some muscle groups more than others, or a frontline worker that does the same sort of motion day in and day out you may be developing some muscle groups more than others. This can pull your bones out of alignment and damage your joints.

         

        One solution can be making sure to work out muscle groups that you may have been ignoring or that might not be as activated while you work. You may also want to consider incorporating more full-body exercises that work out multiple muscle groups at the same time. These exercises can prevent back and shoulder problems, but they’re also the best at fat burning.

         

        Depending on the problem, wearing a back support while you work or work out can also help to protect your posture so that your muscles and joints don’t take so much wear-and-tear.

        Mind Your Rotator Cuff

        Mind Your Rotator Cuff

        Back and shoulder pain can mean a lot of things. However, one of the most common culprits is overuse or strain of the rotator cuff.

        The rotator cuff is a ring of muscles surrounding each shoulder joint. They’re responsible for giving the shoulders their impressive multi-directional range-of-motion. However, they are also very delicate.

         

        Many people who have overuse injuries of the rotator cuff are athletes who often make arm motions above their heads, like pitchers and quarterbacks. However, people with physically demanding jobs like stockers and construction workers can also have these problems. Further, acute issues like sprains and strains can also impact these muscles.

         

        A recurring theme throughout this article - and our website - is that overuse and damage can be prevented through careful strengthening and toning of the muscle groups. The muscles of the rotator cuff are no different, and strengthening your shoulders can help reduce pain.

         

        The bad news is that they can be difficult to target effectively. The good news is that the muscles of the chest and back do most of the heavy lifting. As a result, familiarizing yourself with exercises to develop the back and chest can help to make these injuries less likely.

        Identifying Pain

        Identifying Pain

        This is probably the most important topic we'll cover; how to identify the different types of pain and how your body communicates the level of severity.

        You might be starting a new workout routine for this new year to become stronger & healthier, or hesitant to start one if you have recently experienced pain. Learning to recognize your pain can make the difference in knowing:

        - When to start your workouts.

        - How high or low to set your goals.

        - How fast or slow to push your body.

        - The difference between soreness vs. injury.

        - What to give your body to properly recover and heal.

         

        If you struggle with discomfort or pain in your back and shoulders, working out can be the last thing on your mind. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, working out can be one of the best things that you can do to prevent back and shoulder pain, bad posture, or even serious damage in the future.


        Knowing what exercises to do, how to incorporate them into your day, and when to give yourself a break can be the difference between a productive and comfortable day or a trip to the chiropractor.

        Learn to Recognize Pain

        Whether you’re a weightlifter, an athlete, or just have a demanding job, you know what it’s like to work through pain. Sometimes it’s what you have to do, and other-times it can actually make you feel better. However, that depends on the kind of pain that you have.

        If you have a dull, aching pain that feels like it’s coming from a large area, this is just post-exercise soreness. It comes from light wear-and-tear and the natural build-up of waste products in your muscles from exercise. Doing light, flowing exercises like stretching can help to make this kind of pain go away. Not much to worry about, just light monitoring is required to know when the muscle is ready for the next workout.

         

        If you have a sharp, stabbing pain that feels like it’s coming from a very small area, this could be the result of a muscle or tendon tear or rupture. This is serious. Try to rest and ice the area rather than working it. If the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse after a couple of days, talk to your trainer or your general care provider.

        Power Squats in Proper Form to Avoid Back Pain

        Power Squats in Proper Form to Avoid Back Pain

        Power Squats are another way to work on strengthening your lower back muscles. Proper Squat form is key to avoid back pain.

        Here is proper Squatting posture technique we learned from Stronglifts:

        – Stand with the bar on your upper-back, and your feet shoulder-width apart.

        – Squat down by pushing your knees to the side while moving the hips back.

         Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are lower than your knees.

        – Squat back up while keeping your knees out and chest up.

        – Stand with your hips and knees locked at the top.

         

        Breaking Parallel
        Breaking Parallel

        Doing Squats will work your entire body, specifically your core which involve your abs and lower back muscles, great for stabilizing your torso while holding large amounts of weight. Repetitions of this exercise will also work and strengthen your upper-back, shoulders and arms as you balance the bar on your back.

         

        This is a great exercise at any time as it works more muscles with heavier weight, you can weights as your body gets stronger. Squats have proven to be effective to gain overall strength and muscle quickly, perfect building up to those moments that require repetitive lifting such as starting a new job or helping a friend move houses.

         

        It’s important to always remember that maintaining proper posture all the way through is key to avoid knee and back pain. And commit to the exercise routine, by doing full Squats. Don’t do partial Squats by going only half the way down. Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are past and below your knees. Push your knees out so they’re inline with your feet.

         

         

        Most IMPORTANT: Keep your lower back in neutral position (straight), and don’t let it round.