INTEGRATED CORRECTIVE EXERCISE FOR GOOD POSTURE
The concept of Integrated corrective exercise is going to address the most fundamental flaw found in human bodies today: the failure to utilize the musculature that will promote efficiency of movement in all functional circumstances. Since people in general are plagued with associative neuromuscular dysfunction, they have lost the capability of utilizing the efficient base points for effective movement. To relate this phenomenon to the specifics of integrated movement, we must first analyze the exact application of what humans do more than anything else (other than breathing). We must also see the ramifications of what could potentially happen if a corrective protocol is not implemented prior to implementing any strength training/exercise regimen.
Walking is one of the most fundamental and commonly done movements a person does on a regular basis. In ideal circumstances, a human being will walk on two feet, moving in the sagittal plane (forward) all while initiating the force for the movement through the transverse plane (rotation). Uninhibited walking will be rotationally oriented. It is primarily the integration of the anterior oblique system and posterior oblique system that make a functional transverse plane gait pattern. The AOS (anterior oblique system) and POS (posterior oblique system) act as contralateral structures. The AOS will consist of the external obliques, internal obliques and adductors.
As we take a step forward, the external obliques will concentrically contract to transversely rotate at the trunk in conjunction with the internal obliques in a contralateral manner. The adductors on the same side of the internal obliques will structurally integrate with both obliques to maintain the function of the femur, keeping it in a neutral position. On the opposite side of the body, the POS will primarily consist of the latissimus dorsi and gluteus maximus. In the same gait sequence the POS will function along the same path integrating with the AOS.
The gluteus maximus will concentrically fire mobilizing into hip extension on the same side as the external obliques, while the latissimus dorsi will contralaterally work in arm extension. This joined effort will then apply transverse pressure upon the thoracolumbar fascia, which will help in finalizing transverse gait dynamics. When proper form and function are oriented into the gait cycle, there will be a contralateral stretch mechanism happening between the AOS and POS.
This will effectively create a dynamic stretch response that will involuntarily promote a contraction of the musculature acting in the POS and AOS, in turn propelling you into gait. As one side of the AOS and POS concentrically engages, there will be a reciprocating dynamic stretch response from the AOS and POS on the opposite side of the body. This dynamic stretch tension will reach a climatic point of elasticity, triggering a whip-like response to change its path back towards concentric activation.
As a human goes through an optimal gait sequence, movement should be an effortless dynamic stretching type process. It is this concept of elasticity that will promote an effortless homeostatic movement cycle. In layman’s terms: the body runs best as a set of stretchy rubber bands. In my entire career, I have never witnessed one person move efficiently in the transverse plane while implementing their walking gait dynamics (unless I trained that person myself).
Instead, I have witnessed a system of inefficient lateral movements within the spine, hips and shoulders acting as the compensatory movers within a disintegrated kinetic chain. In order to effectively use the elastic tension as the means of initiating efficient movement, there has to be an intrinsic base of stability present to do so. Picture the musculature that stabilizes the spine as a tube-like structure. The muscle that will represent this tube is called the transverse abdominis. Now picture the AOS and the POS as the systems that mobilize the body after the tube is set up.
When the spine is shaped erect like a tube, involving core function from the transverse abdominis, the muscular structures outside the transverse abdominis (AOS and POS) initiate their movement cycle, setting us into proper gait dynamics. When there is no tube present, the support structures to the spine will completely collapse. The AOS and POS will now function in a compensatory manner which inhibits their full biomechanical efficiency. This is when joints begin to shift in different directions, setting the tone for non-transverse plane inefficiency.
When we witness the faulty base of most people’s posture today, it is a directly related to a person’s inability functionally activate the transverse abdominis and integrate it with the AOS and POS. The inability to reach this point of homeostatic movement and stability is at the root of why the human organism today is so far out of balance. It is for this reason that mastering the neutral stance will be at the foundation of addressing physical dysfunction in the human body.
Introducing the 3 pillars of posture will be the base point to start this process of efficiency. If we want effective stability in our neutral stance, all 3 structures in the pillars of posture must operate as an integrated system. They are the foundation of posture that cannot be separated from another when things are functioning optimally. With that said, it is quite likely that if a human being is in an imbalanced state, they might not be able to integrate all 3 pillars initially.
Since our cultural environment has made us so detached from the way our bodies are supposed to structurally integrate, it is likely that all 3 pillars will be weakened and separate from each other in terms of their combined function. This means we will slowly have to individually re-condition them to come back into functionality. Although we can’t truly activate the glutes, transverse abdominis, and thoracic spine region separately from one another, we can slowly begin to re-introduce them to each other until they finally become completely acquainted to one another.
To bring these structures back together, it will take a precise approach focused around intelligent exercise progression. The first pillar we will introduce will start in the gluteal muscles located in the posterior pelvis. The T-spine and posterior scapular musculature will be second pillar we will associate. Transverse abdominis will be the 3rd and final link in the chain that brings the 3 pillars into complete integration.