… And so here I go contradicting myself. Lately I have been preaching to everyone, especially through my articles, the importance of maintaining good posture through exercise and movement in order to prevent us from continuously adding fuel to the fire when it comes to muscular imbalances. And so I present the following question: should we or should we not have a focus on maintaining a good posture through exercise and movement? My answer to that is yes, but only to a certain extent. We all desire to become stronger, and through my experience that has been the easy part, that is until my body breaks down and injury sets in. One of the major goals in presenting information to all of you through my writing is not only to provide some ideas to help in expanding your training, but to also maintain a focus on the prevention of injury. And so this is where I stand: muscular imbalances and poor posture can very easily lead to injury—there is no doubt about that. However, as athletes and/or individuals who desire to have our bodies accomplish difficult tasks, it is very likely for us to end up in a position that we may have never been in before. If we have never been in that position before and our bodies are not trained to handle such immense stress in that position, the likelihood of injury goes through the roof. It would be ideal if there was a way to train our bodies in such a way that enables us to handle certain positions that we may accidently end up in. Fortunately enough, there is—it is called improper alignment training.
Creating a Sufficient Base of Support
I am thinking that the best way to go about introducing improper alignment training is to first make sure that the individual has a sufficient base of support, as in proper alignment. If the individual is nothing but a bundle of muscular imbalances and a postural disaster, we should probably start by figuring out why that is. If it is due to bad posture habits within daily life, we need to figure out what those habits are and convert them into healthy habits. From that point, we can then introduce movements that will help strengthen key musculature that may be presenting a weakness. Once the postural issues are all solved, we can then move into improper alignment training.
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Finding That Long-Lost Strength
The video directly above discusses the necessity of improper alignment training. In the video, Ido Portal describes how being strong in a very safe pattern is alright, but it does not do us much good if we happen to find ourselves out of that safe pattern. What we need to do is slowly and carefully introduce new movement patterns that our bodies are not trained to do. This will allow us to build strength in ways that we may have never known existed, and the hope is that it will keep us from attaining an injury.
The Spontaneity of Movement
The second video displayed in this article (^above^) shows Ido Portal progressing through improper alignment training. He starts at a more simplistic form of movement and then develops it into a much more advanced form of movement. From what I have seen from Ido so far, I envision that he doesn’t really perceive his movements as a typical workout at all in that the movement is not planned with repetitions and sets in mind, instead it is rather spontaneous. What I mean is that I don’t think he really plans out his movement progressions at all, he just kind of moves in different and unusual ways, while at the same time attempting to remain in control of his body. Through this practice, he is able to strengthen both major and supporting musculature alike, as well as increase his control and understanding of his body in order to allow him to move in more advanced ways.
I believe that the increase in strength, body control, and prevention of injury, all go hand-in-hand with one another. Of course you can increase one without the other, but that will only amount to an acute increase. In other words, we can increase one’s strength by having them endlessly pumping iron, but without a piece of body control and a slice of injury prevention, that strength will only naturally lead to continuing setbacks. In order to progress in an optimal fashion, we need to consider each area as interdependent on the others. The addition of improper alignment training will assist in such optimal progression by bettering one’s ability to increase strength, body control, and prevention of injury simultaneously. One concept to consider before adding improper alignment movement is to make sure that the person partaking in the movement is not just a time-bomb-ticking-away with bad posture. The second, and last thing to remember is that we need to make sure that we are incorporating this training slowly and carefully. Any sort of movement that involves a lot of force in a position that you are not used to could end up counterproductively.
Greg Pearson is an exercise science major at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with minors in biology and coaching. He is also a lifelong athlete – involved in the sports of basketball, baseball, football, track & field and volleyball growing up. Competed at Shippensburg University in the shot put, discus, and hammer events as a Division II Track & Field athlete. You can contact Greg via e-mail: [email protected] or his linkedin profile.