As movement experts, our job is to help our clients to move better, live longer and be healthier. Therefore, we are always concerned with investigating the quality of movement and understanding how our client’s body moves.
But what about when the body is not moving? Isn’t the static posture as important as the dynamic movement to identify how well the parts of their bodies do or do not fit together?
A client’s posture provides much information regarding the natural state of their tissues. Through postural analysis it is possible to determine which areas of their body are under more strain than others, and which muscle groups are causing this strain.
A complete postural analysis is quite complex and takes time. And sometimes we may not have much time to do a full analysis. The solution is optimize our time and extract as much information as possible while doing it.
Today I will share a small guide of how I usually do a quick postural assessment, what I think is important to watch for and what we can deduce about what we found.
As most postural imbalances start from the bottom up, I always like to start from the feet to the head. And I like to analyze the front view first, followed by the side and back views.
Postural analysis Front view – watch for:·
- Are the feet pronated or supinated?
- Are the knees going inward or outward?
- Are the ASIS joints level? Is one of them moving forward? Or backward?Are the shoulders level?
- Is the head tilted or rotated?
Postural analysis Side view – watch for:
- Is the knee flexed or over extended?
- Is the front of the belt line lower or upper than the back?
- Are the lumbar, thoracic and cervical curves increased or decreased?
- Is the shoulder moving forward or backward?
- Is the head tilted forward or backward?
Postural analysis Back view – watch for:
- Are the lumbar and thoracic spines straight?
- Are the shoulder blades winging? Rotating? Abducting?
We can extract lots of information while doing this quick analysis. And what is important here is thinking that the information is not limited to the place being analyzed. For example, the position of the feet can tell us about strength, flexibility and muscular length of hip rotators. Or the position of the knees can provide information about muscular imbalances between the adductor complex and glute medium/maximum. So, it is very important to have a whole body view while analyze an isolated part of the body.
Not only biomechanical problems, but several health issues are related to a bad posture. And it can affect work, sports habits, cause stress and even accidents. Therefore it is really important to do a postural analysis, even a quick one, to guide the rest of your physical assessment and your action plan with the client. I hope it has helped you to understand the importance of a postural analysis and what to watch for in a quick assessment.
To learn more how to observe postural patterns from several perspectives, go to the Postural Analysis workshop and take away key exercises to help improve a person’s structure at every major joint of the body.
Author: Barbara Lopes
Born in Brazil, Barbara is trained as a physiotherapist and Pilates teacher. She’s worked with a variety of athletes, pre- and post-surgical clients, rehabilitation, pre- and post-natal clients, and people of all fitness levels.
“When I’m working with a client, my focus is on contemporary, intelligent, biomechanically-efficient exercises that provide maximum results through precise alignment and controlled movements.”