Poor Joint Mobility and Your Posture

When you mention joint mobility, posture is not the first thing to come to mind.  But if you stop and think about it, for those with “bad” knees who are not able to crouch down, you can easily see how that could affect your posture.  For example, when you bend forward to pick something up, weak knees can cause back sprain and increase spinal pressure if not done correctly.

Causes of poor joint mobility can include age, gender, existing condition or injury, opposing muscle tightness, genetics, connective tissue elasticity and activity.  According to the American Chiropractic Association, long-term practices of standing, sitting and lying down incorrectly can be corrected with time and vigilance.  For some, a bit of guidance mixed with a good exercise and stretching program can help alleviate the problem.  But for others, seeking medical advice may be the route needed.

For the purpose of this article, lets look at how poor knee flexibility can affect posture during the squat.  In the following picture, the image on the left  is showing good posture during the squat.  His torso is tall, elbows are under the bar, and his hips are back.  The only note I would mention here is that I do not recommend everyone go below parallel like that in their squat until they understand the mechanics of the exercise and how to activate the correct musculature.  In the case of someone who has poor knee mobility, if they were to attempt going deep like that, the image on the right is probably what they would look like.  Notice how the body compensates for a weakness in the kinetic chain, allowing you to  get deeper in the squat by bending at the waist. 

 
 
 When you have limited range of motion in one joint, it is usually the joints that are above and below that are required to do what ever they can to help you get into the position needed.  In most cases it is this compensation that results in poor posture, and further injury.
 Although postural habits can be difficult to change, exercises aimed at strengthening the hips, buttocks and leg muscles can help to support correct knee posture.  One exception to that would be if there was a structural issue with the joint such as a tear in a ligament or muscle.
 
As you can see, maintaining joint mobility is very important as it affects more than just a single part of your body.  Strength training and a good flexibility program are 2 key components to keeping your joints healthy and moving freely.  Ensure that you are getting a good dynamic warm up before every workout to help prep your joints and soft tissue followed by a relaxing stretch after your workout.  I also can not stress enough; use good form and technique when doing any type of resistance training. 
Realizing you have a mobility issue may not happen immediately, but when you do that is a good opportunity to have a professional assess what is going on and help you fix the problem as soon as possible.  This will lead to a mobile and healthy future for you.
 
 
 
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About Lisa

Lisa is a Certified Personal Trainer who is passionate about fitness and living an active lifestyle. She has a strong background in nutrition, having been a Chef for almost 15 years and applies this knowledge to helping her clients achieve their goals.
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