posture and alignmentAs we cruise into the end of one year and the beginning of the next, thoughts often turn to ramping up fitness, health, and body shaping with the flip of the calendar.

Have you gotten the results from your workouts this year that you imagined and desired?  What’s different from 365 days ago?  Are you leaner, stronger, better shaped?  Or are you stuck in a holding pattern?

The way to get different results is to do something different.  Yet finding that “different” may take forms that we may have overlooked.  Such as how you position your body for whatever workout it is that you choose.  It has tremendous impact on your workout results.

This is as good a time as any to refresh the basics of any workout and reboot your attention to form and alignment, because they so powerfully impact our workouts in terms of safety and results.

Make no mistake. YOU make your workout.

Let me explain.

I often get asked “Lani, what is the best workout for….”

And though workouts can be results specific, there is one piece of advice that reigns supreme over the others.

And it applies to ALL workouts.  And that is this:

Application of form is key

It doesn’t matter if you are doing yoga,   Fit Quickies, the Bar Method, lifting weights, practicing pilates-based exercise, or anything else or combination thereof.  Connecting with body alignment and applying focus to exercise form is the most industrious component of effective workouts.

Mind and body come together

To place the body in optimal body position for the most effective workouts, when it comes to body shaping, rebuilding, strengthening, and safety, you need focus. This is where the mind and the body come together to create effective intensity.

Keep in mind that muscle activation is largely a function of  alignment.

Read that again.

This is why any exercise approach worth a grain of salt will place this element at the top of the list.

  • It keeps you safe.
  • It builds functional fitness.
  • And it creates beautiful shape.

In other words,  just what you are after, am I right?

3 key alignment details that will create better body shaping, muscle balance, function, and beauty

1)  brace  your abdominals: by pulling the abdominal muscles in contraction toward your spine, you create a foundation of support for the lower back while improving your posture at the same time.   As soon as you pull that trasnversus abdominis muscle into contraction, you take the pelvis out of excessive anterior pelvic tilt.

2)  lift the ribcage vertically from the hips: gravity and bad posture sink the ribcage into the pelvis, thickening the waist and creating multiple other problems.  My beloved dance teacher in high school taught me this, and it has stayed with me every since.  It creates more core strength and beautiful flow of movement.

3) keep the shoulders in alignment with the  hips: With the tuck of the tailbone to stretch the muscles of the low back and activate the muscles of the hips, abdominals, and entire pelvic region, it can be easy for the shoulders to shift back.  Even I need to be checked on this and love it when I’m in workout and the instructor comes by to shift my shoulders back into position.  Lift the ribcage up and with the reference to the mirror, shift your ribs directly over the midline of the hips so that you are not leaning back. It may actually require a slight forward shift of the ribcage and slight fold at the waist.  This creates activation of erector spinae muscles (your postural integrity machine) of the back as well as bringing the abdominal muscles into play.  Chest remains open with shoulders back.

Try it right now and you’ll see what I mean

Go ahead. Stand up, and do these 3 steps.  You will notice right away that your body, though standing still and even without adding any isometric contraction or additional work load, begins to feel dynamically challenged.

THAT is what I mean by “muscle activation is largely a function of  alignment”.

YOU make your workout. Not only by doing it (that’s another topic altogether!) but also by bringing mind and body together with these 3 simple points of focus.  Watch your sense of challenge during your workout raise to new heights, and watch those body shaping, energy, and posture results kick in.

© Lani Muelrath  All Rights Reserved

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