If you follow these guidelines, your kinetic check points, you will always be in the “vicinity” of your proper posture. In order to get perfect form and posture, which is a work in progress for all human beings, more than likely, you will need to do some corrective exercises, deep stretching, and tension release work to fix any imbalances. I suggest finding a fitness professional to guide you, but heed this information because it’s a good place to start…
An excerpt from my upcoming book, Pilates & Beyond (working title)
Kinetic Check Points:
Kinetic Check Points are guides to help you keep your posture in alignment. The idea is to be mindful of these check points as you are doing the exercise. Not only does this method increase your body awareness and focus, it also helps in injury prevention.
You have six kinetic check points: feet, knees, pelvis, ribs and abdomen, shoulders, and head. Your kinetic check points all have a part to play when you perform an exercise. When your brain, muscles, bones, and joints are working in balanced order, your kinetic checkpoints are on automatic pilot— they know where to be in space and exactly what to do in order to perform the movement safely and efficiently. This is the ideal, but for most people, more conscious work is involved because we have asymmetries of strength, function, and movement— as in having a dominant side, or having less flexibility and strength, etc. Additionally, this is why it is important to do Corrective Exercises so that we can correct or at best, improve these asymmetries.
The following kinetic check point descriptions are “general” and can apply to most exercises.
1. Feet in static position unless otherwise dictated by the exercise should be straight and toes north, with balanced weight on both feet. When feet are in motion, be mindful of foot placement; for example, not rolling out on the sides of your feet as you perform an exercise and that you are utilizing your big toe to properly stabilize your foot.
2. Knees in static or in motion should be going in the same direction as your first and second toe. If your toes are turned out, then your knees are turned out. In general, when squatting, the knees stay parallel to each other and hover above the toes, but the knees may also go over the toes if the person has the proper strength and flexibility. In lunging, the weight bearing front leg has the knee directly over the ankle. In sitting exercises the knees should be directly over the ankles unless otherwise dictated by the exercise.
3. Pelvis in a static standing position should be in a “neutral” position. To find this neutral position, place the heels of your palms on the sides of your hip bones and make a triangle like shape with your hands placing your fingertips at your pubic bone. Ideally, in neutral position the point of the triangle should be perpendicular to the floor. In motion, the pelvis will naturally move in and out of neutral position, the “check point” during a moving exercise will be to make sure you are not in an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt, like sticking the butt out in an unnatural and prominent way. Conversely, the pelvis should also not be overly tucked in, where the pelvis is in a posterior tilt. Exaggerated movements on both ends lead to compromised muscle function and movement.
4. Ribs and abdomen in static or in motion, unless otherwise dictated by the type of exercise, should be abs drawn-in and ribs “closed” , not-flared. The whole midsection of the body should feel pulled-in and solid. There are exercises or movements that call for the bracing method, where the abdominal muscles are pushed out, as in to bear-down to absorb a strike, but in general the drawing-in method is what is used in functional movement exercises.
5. Shoulders in static or in motion, unless otherwise dictated by the exercise should be in a neutral and “down” position. The latter meaning no shoulder-earrings or shrugging. Neutral position for the shoulder can be found two ways, one, by making an exaggerated circular movement by lifting the shoulders up, back, and down, feeling the serratus anterior muscles engaged and scapula bones pulled down- and two, by “tucking-in” your scapula (shoulder blades or wing) bones in your imaginary “back pocket.”
6. Head position in static or in exercise movement should not be protruding forward, try to keep the neck muscles relaxed and the chin pulled in, as if creating a double-chin effect. Second, unless otherwise dictated by the exercise, your eyes should be looking in the direction your body is facing or moving towards.
And if that’s not enough, here are some other things to think about while exercising:
1. Breathe! Your breath action can support you and make you stronger!
2. Concentrate! Many people get injured because their mind is on other things, concentrate that the heavy bar-bell will not fall on your toe!
3. Have fun! If it ain’t fun, what’s the point!
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