Structural Balance

In my last post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I broke down physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

In today’s post, I will investigate in further detail one of those components: Structural Balance

Last time, I said that this structural balance deals with the alignment and interplay of your skeleton, skeletal muscles, ligaments, tendons & fascia.

For example, are your hamstrings too tight? Is your pelvis in proper alignment? Is the fascia covering your diaphram too tight?

If your body is out of alignment in one place, there will be adaptations elsewhere. Whether those adaptations will result in pain and injury depends on factors that are largely out of your control.

Before I begin to look at this topic in more detail, I have to admit that of all of the aspects of physical fitness, this is without a doubt NOT my area of expertise.

That is why I always say that before beginning a new fitness program, it might be a good idea to visit some form of physical therapist or an osteopath for an analysis of your structural balance.

If that is not an option, the following set of links will guide you towards the collected knowledge of some of the BEST experts on physical fitness as it pertains to your structural balance.

Vern Gambetta

Eric Cressey

Mike Boyle

Ken Kinakin

Mike Robertson

Gray Cook – Athletic Body in Balance

Each of these individuals have a unique approach to putting your body into balance. If it is possible to meet with one of them for an assessment, I would highly recommend it. If not, read some of their articles, decide which of their styles makes the most sense to you and apply ONE concept. Don’t try to do everything at once.

Before trying to correct any postural flaws, you should take a few digital photos of your posture – standing & sitting, from the front, rear and both sides. Lift your arms overhead, squat, etc… You would be surprised how easy it is to see your own flaws in a photo.

Most likely, this is what you are going to see.

This example was taken from

Neanderthal No More III
The complete guide to fixing your caveman posture!

Side View:

Client exhibits classic exaggeration of the double S-curve posture.

Forward head posture and chin protraction are evident.

Rounded shoulders combined with an exaggerated kyphosis are apparent in the upper thoracic region.

Significant anterior pelvic tilt with a concomitant increase in lumbar lordosis is also evident in the lumbo-pelvic region.

Anterior weight bearing is difficult to determine due to the cropping of the photo, but still seems to be an issue of concern.

This all to common postural flow is described in the following graphic taken from part 2 in Cressey & Robertsons’s Neanderthal No More series.

While posture #1 is the ideal, #4 is all too common. Primarily caused by hours of sitting and staring at television and computer screens, posture #4 has become all too familiar. Think about it, an hour sitting in the car driving to work, sittiong for most of your 8+ hours at work, driving back home and then finally dropping down onto the couch to watch some ‘must-see” tv. All this adds up to poor posture, misalignment, and eventually pain and disfunction.

Okay, enough doom & gloom.

This can all be corrected. Start with the links listed above. Take it slow. Your poor posture wasn’t created in a day and it won’t be corrected in a day.

Good luck.

If anyone has any specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I rely on a group of therapists to help me with my training clients and I am sure that I could convince them to help me answer your questions.

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