Does anyone have any tips on how to improve shoulder alignment and anterior pelvic tilt? My shoulders are extremely pulled forward and it makes simple things, such as cooking, hard and painful. I also have an extreme amount of lordosis caused by excessive sitting. I am beginning to feel a bit useless, because I can't accomplish some simple physical tasks, and I feel some of my lifts fail to improve because of this. Any tips?
I suggest reading the book: "Eight Steps to a Pain Free Back" by Esther Gokhale. She studied the natural postures of hunter gatherers and ancestral cultures and developed her "Gokhale Method" to correct modern posture problems. Besides being an awesome book (cuz Mark Sisson said so!), it is also quite beautiful - a nice coffee table book (and not expensive).
You can even pick up some tips for free at her website (google her name - I'm too lazy to do it for you.)
try the mobility workout of the day! it has really changed the way i move and feel. only ten minutes a day and its been a huge improvement. i had bursitis under my left scapula from my shoulder rolling forward so much. so painful. pregnancy and carrying babies did not help one bit. my chiropractor is algo a godsend. if you can find a good one, they are worth their weight in bacon i tell you.
Lift heavy weights.
Specifically, do deadlifts, barbell rows, squats and overhead press. Those will rock your weak lower back, glutes, hamstrings, lats and shoulders. You'll feel your posture improve after the 1st day you do heavy overhead presses. I definitely did.
Check out a 5x5 strength program for guidance.
Here's a good video of Mark Rippetoe teaching good posture in the overhead press, specifically addressing lordosis:
Squeeze your glutes and engage your core and it will do wonders for your lower back and hip placement in your day to day life.
This is part of CrossFit or at least it's a CrossFit coach who initiated it, but this is really great stuff. Start at day one. You'll learn about the workings of your muscles for a bit and every day there's a new 'Mobility Workout ofthe Day'/'MWoD'. Only thing you really need is a hockey-ball (preferably 3, 2 taped together and a loose one).
Do some of the things he describes in the video and you'll experience the difference. It's quite amazing at times and you just feel loads looser afterwards. Helps on the long-term, short-term any term and you can do it yourself! Just be careful to not stretch or push too far and injure yourself; it hurts, but it shouldn't start bleeding :p (that's kind of a joke obviously, but really it shouldn't start bleeding... Just go up to the point where you can remain in the position, don't 'bounce' in and out of a stretch, that'll tear you up)
I hope this will help with your problems! Good luck!
Excellent recommendations for Gokhale's book, Alexander Technique, Yoga and Feldenkrais (which is another movement/posture therapy).
Hopefully, the kyphosis is not to severe but still it'll likely take a multipronged approach to see improvement - first you'll work on the flexibility and strength to work toward straightening and elongating the posture, then work in earnest on backward flexibility:
1)improve muscle strength in the back (appropriate movement, heavy lifting - start slowly, avoid sitting when possible, stand and walk more)
2)improve muscle flexibility, decrease muscle tension (yoga, appropriate physical movement and sufficient magnesium)
3)improve skeletal alignment and flexibility in the back (yoga, chiropractic, Gokhale, Alexander, Feldenkrais)
4)insure optimal bone health in hopes of preventing any bone degeneration (or hopefully reversing it if there has been some) - test 25(OH)D to insure optimal levels in the middle of the reference range, insure sufficient vitamin K intake mostly through food but possibly through some supplementation as well (Guyenet has a good discussion on K supplementation), sufficient A intake (which imesho is probably not more than daily D intake when looked at over days and weeks), sufficient zinc, magnesium, selenium and boron. With the exception of zinc, D and magnesium, this should be fairly easy to achieve if eating plenty of organ meats and seafood in addition to muscle meats. In other words, don't rely to heavily on muscle meat but rather a balanced mix of organs (not just liver), seafood and muscle meat.
This may be helpful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyphosis
ETA: It's not clear from the post what your age is or if there is a medical diagnosis on board. Consider the terms you're using "extremely pulled forward", "severe lordosis", "normal activities painful", it may also be worth visiting an orthopedic MD as appropriate diagnositic imaging may give you very helpful information.
If the pain is due to, say, vertebral fractures from severe kyphosis rather than muscular tightness, then the path that treatment follows will look quite different and end goals should be modified accordingly.
You may want to look into what I guess you'd call "posture therapy." One of the better ones is called The Alexander Technique. One of these guys -really- helped a friend of mine. He only needed a few sessions; they taught him some exercises and he looks and walks like a completely different person now.
I've tried Egoscue with one of the books you can buy. Some success, but not much.
I haven't tried Feldenkrais yet - no practitioners nearby that are convenient for me.
Gokhale's book wasn't great for me, I apparently don't have a chair to use for the first step. I keep meaning to go back to that book since I continue to hear so much good about it.
I gave up on the Alexander Method after one session when the guy told me I ought to notice a difference after a single session, and didn't.
Google "Neanderthal No More". It's a multi-part article put together by Eric Cressey from Cressey Performance. It's a very thorough article and explanation of corrective exercises. It is heavy on science if you want it. But it's also easy to understand it you don't.
i'd suggest looking into doing some good yoga as a regular supplement. A dvd I'd highly recommend is one of Ana Forrest's dvds. She is a bad, bad... shut yo mouth. She also works a lot on correcting habitual western posture problems through specific poses. Would be a nice complement to a lifting regimen.
here is a pretty cool demonstration of her doing some yoga... starts out a bit slow but about a 1.5min in... and check out her awesome pants. She's in her 50's by the way... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTcLhOlIk5I&feature=related
lots of good suggestions! I would also add that I think walking barefoot on natural surfaces is helpful. It really improves core strength and helps with balance and posture. I haven't tried vibram 5 fingers but I think they would be to protective of the feet. just go walking in a natural setting off trails with nothing on your feet. Your posture will straighten out to help your balance and protect your feet.
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