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Taking static posture images is the standard for assessing your posture. And even though its useful for some things, It’s def not the best for gauging your posture.

Which is why in this article, I’ll be showing you how to test what really matters, which is your dynamic posture.

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What is Dynamic Posture?

According to Physiopedia “Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something. It is usually required to form an efficient basis for movement. Muscles and non-contractile structures have to work to adapt to changing circumstances.”

And why is this better than your static posture?

  • It’s difficult to see progress reliably with just some images and usually clothing (not always) over the boney landmarks you need to see.
  • Its difficult to remain consistent from therapist to therapist which means one could tell you that you’re fine and the other could make you believe you’re about to die from your terrible posture.
  • And life doesn’t happen in a static position, including most pain. So if you’re gauging your pain based on your posture then this isn’t going to be the best solution for you.

Why are Dynamic Posture Assessments Better?

  1. Its easier to assess (in my opinion) between different therapists; Which means less room for errors.
  2. Life is always moving and unpredictable so being able to assess how you move is critical to how you will stand against the real world.
  3. Pain is more than likely happening with some kind of movement (usually) which means this may help pinpoint the source for your pain.

Right now, I gave you a watered down version of why dynamic posture is better. But if you would like to understand this a little better then make sure to check out my new video below.


The Push, Pull, Squat Assessments For Your Posture

Below is 3 different dynamic posture assessments you can perform at home. Make sure to record yourself before hand so you can review your movement pattern. Looking in a mirror while performing these assessments will alter the results.

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Push

Before you record yourself.

  • Make sure your phone is in landscape/horizontal mode for easiest viewing, being able to see your feet all the way to your head.
  • Try to have a blank background for easier viewing.

Starting Position

  1. Get into the pushup position with your hands shoulder width apart and on your toes. You can also go on your knees for a modified version.
  2. Now from here, perform 10 pushups at a controlled pace.
  3. Start from the bottom of the push-up position.

Looking at Your Recordings

There should be a “somewhat” straight line from the ankles to the hips, then a slight change in angle to the shoulders and ear. The line doesn't have to be perfect but you should have a straight body for the most part.

Here are some compensations to look for

Is your lower back sagging/arching or the stomach dropping to the floor?

Is your butt sticking up in the air as you perform your pushups?

Are your shoulders moving towards the ears?

Is your scapula winging towards the ceiling, creating a gap between your shoulder blades?

Does your head protrude forward towards the floor?

If you have any of the above compensations then that’s considered a dysfunctional pattern, which now leaves the question, did you have any pain or discomfort with those movements? Mark your answer with the options provided.

How to Fix these problems

Below is a list of muscles that you can work on to help improve these problems. These muscles are to help with the dysfunction part and not necessary any pain. If the muscle is listed as shortened and tight then it should be self massage and stretched out. If the muscle is elongated and weak then you should exercise those muscles.

Muscles Creating Your Movement Compensation

Compensations

Shortened Muscles

Lengthened Muscles

Low Back Sags/Arches

- Erector spinae
- Hip flexors

- Intrinsic core stabilizers
- Gluteus maximus

Lower Back Rounds

- Rectus abdominis
- External obliques

- Intrinsic core stabilizers

Shoulders Elevate

- Upper trapezius
- Levator scapulae
- Sternocleidomastoid

- Mid and lower trapezius

Scapular Winging

- Pectorals minor

- Serratus anterior
- Mid and lower trapezius

Forward Head

- Upper trapezius
- Levator scapulae
- Sternocleidomastoid

- Deep cervical flexors

Pull

Before you record yourself.

  • Make sure your phone is in vertical mode for easiest viewing, being able to see your feet all the way to your head.
  • Try to have a blank background for easier viewing.

Starting Position

  1. Start off in a staggered stance with your toes pointing forward.
  2. From here, all you’re going to do is pull your handles to the side of your body and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times at a controlled pace for each rep.
  3. You can use either cables or a band, just make sure you pick a weight you can do 10 reps comfortably but not too easy to the point you have to make a game out of it for some enjoyment.

Looking at Your Recordings

There should be straight line from the ankles through the hips and near the ears. Once again this doesn’t have to be perfect, what you should be looking for more is that there is no extra movements besides the arms pulling straight back.

Here are some compensations to look for

Is your lower back arching?

Are your shoulders moving towards the ears?

Does your head protrude forward?

If you answered yes to any of the above then that’s considered a dysfunctional pattern, which now leaves the question, did you have any pain or discomfort with those movements? Mark your answer with the options provided.

How to Fix these problems

Below is a list of muscles that you can work on to help improve these problems. These muscles are to help with the dysfunction part and not necessary any pain. If the muscle is listed as shortened and tight then it should be self massage and stretched out. If the muscle is elongated and weak then you should exercise those muscles.

Muscles Creating Your Movement Compensation

Compensations

Shortened Muscles

Lengthened Muscles

Low Back Arches

- Erector spinae
- Hip flexors

- Intrinsic core stabilizers

Shoulders Elevate

- Upper trapezius
- Levator scapulae
- Sternocleidomastoid

- Mid and lower trapezius

Forward Head

- Upper trapezius
- Levator scapulae
- Sternocleidomastoid

- Deep cervical flexors

Squat

Before you record yourself.

  • Make sure you can see your feet and your arms fully extended in the video.
  • Make sure your shoes are off.
  • Try to have a blank background for easier viewing.

Starting Position

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart with feet pointed straight ahead (that part is important, even if it feels weird).
  2. Straighten your arms over your head with elbows fully flexed.
  3. From here, squat down to roughly the height of a chair seat and then return to the starting position before repeating for 5 reps at a controlled pace.
  4. Make sure to record yourself from the front and side view for 5 reps each.

Looking at Your Recordings

Here’s what you’re looking for when it comes to the OHSQT.

You want your knees and feet pointing straight and lining up while viewing your squat from the front.

And then while looking at the side view of your recordings, you want to make sure your arms and hips are lined up and this line is parallel to your shins. This would be considered a good overhead squat.

Here are some compensations to look for

Front View

Do you feet turn out?

Do you feet turn in?

Do you knees turn out?

Do you knees turn/rotate in?

Side View

Does your lower back round?

Does your lower back arch?

Do you have an excessive forward lean?

Do your arms fall forward?

If you answered yes to any of the above then that’s considered a dysfunctional pattern, which now leaves the question, did you have any pain or discomfort with those movements? Mark your answer with the options provided.

How to Fix these problems

Below is a list of muscles that you can work on to help improve these problems. These muscles are to help with the dysfunction part and not necessary any pain. If the muscle is listed as shortened and tight then it should be self massage and stretched out. If the muscle is elongated and weak then you should exercise those muscles.

Muscles Creating Your Movement Compensation

Front View

Compensations

Shortened Muscles

Lengthened Muscles

Turn out

- Soleus
- Lat. gastrocnemius
- Biceps femoris complex (short head)
- Tensor fascia latae (TFL)

- Med. gastrocnemius
- Med. hamstring
- Gluteus medius/ maximus
- Gracilis
- Popliteus
- Sartorius

Knee move Inward (valgus)

- Peroneal complex
- Lat. gastrocnemius
- Biceps femoris complex (short head)
- Tensor fascia latae (TFL)

- Anterior tibialis
- Posterior tibialis
- Med. gastrocnemius
- Gluteus medius

Knees Move Outward

-Adductor Complex
-Biceps femoris complex (short head)
-Tensor fascia latae (TFL)
-Lat. gastrocnemius
-Vastus lateralis

-Med. hamstring complex
-Med. gastrocnemius
-Gluteus medius/ maximus
-Vastus medialis oblique (VMO)
-Anterior tibialis
-Posterior tibialis

Knees Move Outward

-Piriformis
-Biceps femoris
-TFL
-Gluteus minimus

-Adductor Complex
-Med Hamstring
-Gluteus Maximus

Side View

Compensations

Shortened Muscles

Lengthened Muscles

Excessive Forward Lean

- Soleus
- Gastrocnemius
- Hip Flexor complex
- Abdominal complex (rectus abdominis, external oblique)

- Anterior tibialis
- Gluteus maximus
- Erector spinae
- Intrinsic core stabilizers
- Transverse abdominis
- Multifidus
- Transversospinalis
- Internal oblique
- Pelvic floor muscles

Low Back Arches

- Erector spinae
- Hip flexors complex
- Latissimus Dorsi

- Intrinsic core stabilizers
- Gluteus maximus
- Hamstrings

Lower Back Rounds

- Hamstrings
- Adductor magnus
- Rectus abdominis
- External obliques

-Med. hamstring complex
-Med. gastrocnemius
-Gluteus medius/ maximus
-Vastus medialis oblique (VMO)
-Anterior tibialis
-Posterior tibialis

Arms Fall Forward

- Lats
- Pec Minor/Major
- Coracobrachialis
- Teres Major

- Mid/lower trapezius
- Rhomboids
- Posterior deltoid
- Rotator cuff

About the Author Adam

Adam is the owner of Train and Massage and has earned multiple certifications including Human Movement Specialist, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and More.

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