Fitness Assessment – Posture and Movement

by Edward A. Patterson on March 21, 2011

One of the first things you can look forward to as part of Boot Camp is the Fitness Assessment. The Fitness Assessment is an individualized health and fitness appraisal and it includes a review of your current health, medical, and lifestyle history, as well as a variety of tests and measurements.

The purpose of the Assessment is to provide information about your current fitness level. It identifies any health problems that could manifest during exercise. It helps me modify the exercise program to fit your specific needs. And it also sets a baseline against which we can measure your progress. This also helps motivate you to stick with the program as you retest to see your progress.

One area of the Fitness Assessment I want to talk a little more about today is your Postural Evaluation and Movement Screen.

As a Fitness Professional, the one thing that is nearly always on my mind when I’m dealing with clients is posture. Why is so posture important and how does it affect your results from attending Boot Camp?

Let’s talk about what posture is for a moment. Basically, posture is the position and alignment of your body and how the combination of your nervous, muscular, and skeletal systems react against gravity. Gravity, of course, exerts force on your joints, ligaments, and muscles. Posture is used to distribute the force of gravity throughout your body.

The importance of posture is that, over time, poor posture leads to overstressing particular joints, ligaments, and muscles. Pain and injury are often the result.

Therefore, a Postural Evaluation helps me to identify any postural distortion patterns. These distortion patterns are further identified as predictable patterns of muscle imbalances.

Everyone has muscle imbalances to one degree or another. However, some of these imbalances are quite common due to the sedentary lifestyle most of us live. Being seated for long hours, often hunched over a computer, or watching TV, has led to countless people having hunched over shoulders and protruding heads that stick out.

Anterior pelvic tilt is another common muscle imbalance and reveals itself as an excessive arch in the lower back with a protruding abdomen. This muscle imbalance is usually because the muscles at the front of the hip are too tight, while the muscles on the back are weak and loose from sitting too long.

Over the years, poor posture can lead to significant structural changes in your body, an early breakdown of those structures, greater risk of injury and pain, weakening of certain muscles, limited mobility and flexibility, and a negatively impacted appearance.

Out in the world, sitting and standing with proper postural alignment will allow you to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles, and reduce stress and strain on your spine.

However, when you come to Boot Camp, you can be sure you are going to be doing a lot more than sitting and standing. You are going to be moving… a lot! So, if posture is important when you’re sitting and standing, you can only imagine how much I am concerned with your posture while you are working out.

In technical jargon, my job is to ensure the muscles of your body are “optimally aligned at the proper length-tension relationships necessary for efficient functioning of force-couples and to allow for proper joint mechanics, effective absorption and distribution of forces throughout the kinetic chain to alleviate excess stress on joints, and to allow the kinetic chain to produce high levels of functional strength with optimal neuromuscular efficiency.”

What that means to you is that I’m working to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout, so that you can get the results you are looking for, in the shortest time possible, while staying safe.

So you’re going to be moving! For that reason, the Fitness Assessment also includes a Functional Movement Screening process. This screening is a seven-step movement test that determines the quality of basic movement patterns. It makes use of a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are essential to normal function.

This test helps identify any weaknesses in your body and helps provide a basis for the Boot Camp exercise program. These exercises help you strengthen weak muscle groups or movement patterns, improve your mobility and balance, prevent injuries, and of course, get you results!

In the end, your posture, and how you position your body during exercise is of paramount importance to me. When you move correctly you are going to get the maximum benefit from each exercise and reach your goals that much sooner. The Posture Evaluation and Movement Screen portions of your Fitness Assessment are a first step in getting there.

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