Exercise influences posture, sometimes negatively at first.

It happens every January, a lot of complaints of serious aches. They say things like “My neck and shoulders are killing me. I don’t know what happened!”  After one look at how they lay on the table, it’s easy to see why they are hurting.  Their posture shows distortions from over exercising. The bottom line is: exercise influences posture! The effects of hitting the gym hard after the tumultuous holiday season shows up in how they lay on the table.

The picture below is of a woman whose musculature is normally balanced and anatomically correct.  However, after an 6 week absence from her normal workout routine, she returned full force and threw in a few extra yoga classes.



Postural Analysis of "Back to the gym January" sufferer at Spa Rosalia Del Mare

Fortunately, this was within 72 hours of her regular massage appointment, which is every three weeks.

Why is the right shoulder so elevated?

This is a perfect example of how exercise influences posture. The lift is caused by a temporary shortening of the pectoral muscles after completing 100 chaturanga poses (planks). Pretty intense, huh?

While the long term results may be worth it, the “no pain, no gain” attitude in exercise jumps after the holidays.

Exercise influences posture: 100 chaturanga poses (planks) in one session...yes, that can cause some neck and shoulder issues.

Why only on the right side?

That is a great question, especially considering that one of the many benefits yoga offers is that it equally develops musculature on both sides of the body.  The problem is not the exercise choice itself, but rather what happens when a muscle is pushed beyond its capability. In this case the stronger side took on the work muscles that were exhausted.  The “sided” half of our body is stronger than the other.  The model is right handed, and so that side has more endurance. When the left side chest muscles fatigued during planks, her right side took on a larger portion of the work needed to get through the poses.

The influence of rapidly increased exercise on posture is fortunately temporary.  In this case, as she continues working into her regular routine, and gets back to full strength, the imbalance will dissipate.  Here is a chest and bicep stretch she can do at home.

For this bodywork session, fascial release was done on the sternum area to release the origin of the pectoralis major muscle. The myofascial technique was followed by deep tissue work at the insertion point on the arm. Special attention was given to the bicep muscles too. This protocol allowed the shoulder to relax in line with the left.