Its meaning and impact
Talking about a strong person means physical and muscular strength. I’m strong if I can lift that rock, or I can move that pile of rocks, or I can move rocks all day. But how about if a smell is strong? Or if a taste is strong, such as a strong cup of coffee? Suppose I have a strong desire for a glass of juice or a strong like for blueberries or a strong aversion to eggplant? A global definition for “Strong” is as an intensity and abundance of whatever you are describing, such as having a strong lust for life or strong love for your family.
So…What is strong when talking about the StrongPosture® model and exercise protocols?
The StrongPosture® model describes three elements of posture- Balance, Alignment and Motion, so StrongPosture® means each of these elements is strong.
Strong Balance is the functional ability to keep your body vertical and not falling down, despite challenges. Your Posture is what you are doing to accomplish this, or HOW you balance your body.
Alignment is how most people think of posture, from the perspective of “How straight am I standing?” Strong Alignment is when the masses of your body are well aligned along a vertical axis…AND your perception of that alignment agrees with an objective observation, such as a picture. The question of which precise points to use as references is the source of much dialogue in posture research. Our take: depending upon the shape and center of gravity of the body masses being balanced, optimal is slightly different for each individual, and can shift from activity and interventions such as spinal manipulation or muscle therapy.
Strong Motion refers to the question of quality of movement. Ideally, motion should be smooth and coupled, and able to continue in a direction despite resistance, and continue moving without having to avoid areas of weakness or stiffness.
Movement is strong when controlled, as if I lift my hand straight overhead smoothly while standing tall and aligned. If I grasp a 5 pound weight I may be able to repeat the motion with strong movement. However, a 50 pound weight changes things. I might be able to lift it overhead, but my alignment will shift to compensate, and my control of that motion will be jerky and “weak.”
StrongPosture® consists of strong balance, alignment and motion. All are interdependent, and all are negatively impacted by sensory errors and arcs of motor weakness. As an example, consider the spectrum of motion quality separating a graceful dancer from an old person shuffling and shifting to spare areas of pain, stiffness and/or weakness.
The StrongPosture® exercise protocols strengthen these three elements of posture by focusing on one element at a time, hence the acronym BAM. Postural alignment can shift over time as changes from habitual activity accumulate, affecting how we balance and move. And although initially subtle, the effects of years behind a desk accumulate and may not be fully reversible. The goal is to slow (and possibly reverse) the progression of postural breakdown.
Change begins with awareness. The goal of the PostureZone® model is to create an observational benchmark, not a prescriptive target. In other words, see how the head, torso and pelvis are aligning over where you are standing…and check back to see if that alignment is unchanged, improved or worse.
Next: What are we strengthening with StrongPosture® Exercise?