Often little known or considered useless, many ignore the work of the postural muscles. And yet, they play a vital role in our sporting goals but also (and above all) in our daily well-being!
What is that ?
Before getting to the heart of the matter, let’s take the time to define this term:
As their name suggests, the postural muscles all concern muscles related to our stature and posture.
They allow us to have a certain stability since they are the ones that help us to walk and to stand straight. They go like this prepare and anticipate each of our movements. Even before they are made, they have the reflex to reach out to keep the body in balance.
These stabilizing muscles are deep muscles which are in contact with the bones, under the layer of so-called “superficial” muscles (such as the biceps, triceps, quadriceps, etc.). On the contrary, the latter are directly visible under the skin, more voluminous and solicited voluntarily.
What are the postural muscles?
The postural muscles extend from the thorax to the lower part of the pelvis (the pelvis) and allow the connection between the upper and lower body. They are therefore essentially located in the center of the body, what is also called the trunk or “the core” as the Americans say.
It includes muscles
Why strengthen postural muscles?
Do you remember their role? Help us move and stabilize the body. But for that, they have to be quite toned and strong enough.
It’s no longer a secret that the human body is not designed to remain inactive. It needs to move in order to function properly. But in the era of a sedentary lifestyle and telecommuting, we spend most of our time sitting.
Our postural muscles are therefore no longer stressed enough and above all, they remain frozen in the same position for hours! Result ? They risk atrophying. This “muscular amnesia” can then cause many imbalances since being too weak, other muscles compensate.
The work of the postural muscles is one of the keys to a balanced, harmonious body and in good health.
In this way, you will be able prevent many pains and adopt good reflexes on a daily basis! To sum up, by working your postural muscles you will:
In short, you will improve your comfort and your general well-being… but that’s not all! They also participate in improving athletic performance. By having a better distribution of forces and a better balance, you will in this way be less exhausted unnecessarily and therefore, optimize your energy to go even further in your training 😉
We will favor what is called the isometric work (so-called voluntary or static contraction.
That is to say, we will make slow or almost static movements and thus promote the quality of production. The goal ? Become aware of your body, your muscles and feel the effort of contraction.
This “postural training” training will therefore be done in particular via muscle strengthening and stretching exercises.
Exercises around postural stability, which promotes the balance are also very useful! In this way, you will activate a greater number of muscles and in particular these famous deep muscles. This instability can result in the surface on which we practice a physical activity, as is the case for swimming, horseback riding, surfing or even windsurfing.
It can also be voluntarily created during the realization of certain strengthening movements while being only on one leg, or thanks to accessories fitness equipment such as the Swiss Ball for example – a kind of large inflated ball – or even suspension straps.
By adding this kind of variations to your movements you will teach your body to train on unusual and especially uncertain surfaces. In the long term, this allows work on coordination, strengthen your center of gravity and therefore reduce the risk of injury.
In addition, if you regularly practice impact sports such as running, tennis or a sport where the rotation of the legs is important (such as handball or basketball), work on the stability of the joints which is very important. This is why I advise you to do this type of session at least once a week.
THE discipline par excellence to work all the musculature of the torso? Pilates! In addition to bringing a real awareness of the posture, it is a very good way to improve its posture. She allows to rebalance muscle chains by strengthening the muscles that are too weak, to optimize the alignment between the pelvis and the spine, while treating certain pains in the back and pelvic region. In concrete terms, it is a set of exercises allowing restore the stabilizing function of the deep muscles of the body. The benefits of pilates are recognized on the work of these muscles.
At the same level, yoga also improves the flexibility of the spine, works the deep muscles and breathing.
3 simple and quick exercises to do every day
Here are 3 exercises that you can add to your daily workouts. As a warm-up or simply on an ad hoc basis, they are ultra simple and ultra easy to make.
Exercise 1: Superman
- Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched above your head
- Raise your chest, arms and legs simultaneously from the floor
- Keep your head down, gaze down at the ground
- Hold this position for 10 seconds then release.
- Repeat the movement ten times
Exercise 2: the boat
- Start in a seated position
- Bend your legs, bringing your knees towards your chest
- Extend your arms in front of you
- Then try to lift your feet off the ground while keeping your balance
- Hold for 15 seconds
- Repeat the movement 5 times
Exercise 3: the plank
- Place yourself on the ground, resting on your forearms and tiptoes
- Be careful to keep the alignment of the spine up to the neck (the buttocks neither too high nor too low)
- Don’t forget to train your abs
- Hold this position for as long as possible
I have just presented to you the basic plank, which is a very recommended exercise when it comes to strengthening deep muscles. Indeed, it is in a certain way very effective since it makes it possible to target the deep muscles of the abdominals as well as to relieve and avoid certain pains of the lower back. However, I recommend that you be careful with this move because it also works the shoulders a lot.
To avoid this problem, I advise rather to realize certain variants of planks by adding some rotations of hips to the left and to the right for example. You can also place yourself in a push-up position (resting on your hands and tiptoes) to extend one of your legs and the arm opposite to it, then alternate. Very effective to work the balance!
The questions I see regularly
3 videos to strengthen your postural muscles
3 exercises for daily well-being – 15 min
Beginner Pilates session – 20 min
5 movements against back pain – 5 min