Working with clients in their homes gives me access to valuable information in a way that gym interactions do not. When they meet me in the gym they are often on their best behavior when it comes to moving properly. They know that I’m watching every second and am not shy about correcting poor habits. So, when I get to see my clients in their natural habitats, they often display the habitual positions that I work so hard to change. It’s a goldmine of poor performance: sloppy spine position when picking things up from the floor (as if we haven’t worked on this for 6 or 7 years!) and unconscious, lazy slouching when sitting.
Below are 2 case studies of clients who almost gave me a coronary after watching them in a seated position. I also follow-up with a list of adjustments that I had them implement to create significantly better postures within a couple of minutes.
Client #1: Hard-working professional
I have been working with Client #1 for over 5 years and she often complains of discomfort in her upper back and neck. After seeing this first photo, you might understand why. Notice her forward head position, slouched shoulders, and legs crossed on the seat of the chair (she claimed she did this because the chair is too deep for her feet to touch the ground). Not exactly the picture of ergonomic correctness.
Corrections: I had her slide her hips as far back into the chair as possible and placed a pillow behind her back (to accommodate for the backwards slant of the chair back). Then I put a pillow under her computer so that she wouldn’t have to drop her head so low to see the screen. Finally, she agreed to put her feet down once I placed a book under them for proper alignment. The result is a significantly better neutral spine position than when I first arrived.
Client #2: Retired Great-Grandmother
I have only seen Client #2 a half-dozen times over the years because she lives out of town but comes into the city to stay with her daughter, a long-term client of mine. Among the many challenges in this case is developing awareness of her body’s position in space (kinesthetic awareness). She had no idea she slouched until I showed her the photos: this method provided far more effective feedback than any verbal cues I tried. Similar to the “before” photo above, Client #2 has a forward head position, rounded shoulders, a reliance on the arm rests, and knees bent much greater than 90°.
Corrections: The biggest fix was making her aware of her slouching and not passively sinking into the chair. She became actively engaged in sitting upright by moving forward in the seat and loosely perching her elbows on the rests (these two adjustments alone fired up the muscles responsible for trunk stability). She locked her shoulders back, raised her head, and placed her feet flat on the floor (directly below her knees).
Keep your spine sexy and strong by refusing to slouch. Try implementing a couple of these quick fixes for better posture.
Keep on Movin’