Sit up straight! Don't slouch and suck in that gut! This is what I would hear growing up as a kid and as an adult, I paid for it! Rolling shoulders, crooked back and knobby knees. Yeah, I corrected all of that and will continue to do so to get the most out of my workouts.
Body Alignment (or Kinetic Chain Checkpoints) is extremely important when it comes to exercising. When working out, proper alignment provides a more effective workout and injury is less likely to occur. Proper body alignment also aids in athletic performance because the body can be taught to move more efficiently and have a better range of motion.
Since everyone is different, it's important to find a personal trainer who can access posture and review each kinetic chain checkpoint to help correct particular discrepancies.
For example, performing a lunge is an exercise that many clients have trouble completing correctly. There can be a number of reasons why. Hips my not be in line with toes, hamstring muscles may be tight, knees could be weak and neck alignment could be off. So, the client's body may be compensating to make the move easier but not effective.
When reviewing body alignment, there are 5 key areas that a trainer will review.
- Feet/Ankles- this area should be straight, parallel. Not flattened or externally rotated.
- Knees- knees should be in line with toes
- Hip Complex- hips should face forward evenly and there is no tilting of the lower spine.
- Shoulders- shoulders should be level and not elevated or rounded.
- Head and Spine- head and upper spine should be neutral and tilted forward
The areas listed above should always be monitored. A trainer can teach proper alignment when working through each exercise. Improving body alignment can be corrected through effective strength training, flexibility and balance training. So, get that body lined up and get moving!