Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

“Goofy” Exercise That Improves Your Posture, Boosts Your Strength

by GEOFFN on May 15

I’ve been around the fitness industry a LONG time – 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of stuff come and go. And a lot of stuff that hasn’t left that should.

One of the things that has bled from the rehabilitative/health industry over into the fitness industry is the idea of “corrective exercise.”

You know, strength imbalance here, work these muscles with these exercises there. That sort of thing.

There are some really smart people in this field, and a lot who should just stick to their day jobs. (Know what I mean?)

One of the things that inevitably is fixated on is posture.

Or poor posture.

Now hold on a second here, cause I know what you’re thinking – posture is B-O-R-I-N-G. And you’re right. I’m already bored writing about this. (Kidding.) I’d rather talk about sexier stuff like how to increase your press a bell size or the latest methods to rip off 5 pounds of fat in a week. (They do exist, by the way – one of my clients, who’s 50, lost 4 pounds in a week and she’s already an experienced KB user. But I digress…)

Anyway, here’s the deal with posture – if you want a bigger press, or to lose fat, then your posture better be great.

Why?

Well because if it’s not, and you look like this guy forward head posture1 Goofy Exercise That Improves Your Posture, Boosts Your Strengthto the right then everything from the crown of your skull is going to be off – misaligned. And that means that ALL of your muscles are going to be working improperly. Hence, movement dysfunctions and compensations. And hence the need for all this corrective exercise.

Not only that, there’s increased stress on your body as an organism as a whole, and that messes up (good scientific term there) everything in your body from hormones to digestion.

Here’s an interesting idea or thought or concept:

What if by taking care of your posture, you could “automatically” correct some, if not all of your movement dysfunctions/compensations and get instantly stronger without having to do “more work”?

Doesn’t sound too far fetched does it? I mean, after all, gaining our upright posture was what we were made to do and moving from a “normal” posture was where we lived before we were told to “behave” and “sit still,” right?

The Problem With Modern “Posturology”…

Do a web search for “posture” or “forward head posture” a.k.a “chicken-necking” as we refer to it in the KB world, and you’ll find a wealth of information. Some good, some not so good.

I’ve tried some stuff over the years – from the “strengthening this and stretching that” routines, to standing tall and creating a “tall or long spine” and the results were – ehhh… So-so. Not only for myself but also for my clients as well.

And yeah, here it comes – the self-deprecating disclaimer – I just must not have been smart enough to understand the information and how to apply it nor how to communicate it to my clients. Funny though, cause I passed the “tests” that said I was. Hmmmmm… maybe they just wanted my money…

Oh yeah, where was I?

That’s right – what didn’t work in correcting posture.

So, what I’m about to say next, take with a grain of salt, cause I haven’t had any x-rays done. Therefore, all my “evidence” is anecdotal. And it’s definitely not peer-reviewed, so it must not count for anything.

If you want to improve your posture, and everything associated with it, you must do what you did to gain it in the first place – forget all that isolated PhD stuff.

Yes, yes, working your deep cervical flexors works. Yes, training your deep core muscles works. All of it “works” for awhile until it doesn’t. That’s because these are symptoms – weaknesses caused by poor posture, not necessarily the cause of poor posture.

See, there was on thing that you did as an infant – around 6 months old or so – maybe a little earlier, maybe a little later, just before you crawled – that helped set your posture. (Sure, you did this during the crawling stage too.)

What do I mean by “set your posture?”

This simple little “exercise” helped set your spinal curves – your neck, thoracic, and lumbar spinal curves. And when you start doing this again, your posture will automatically improve.

Instantaneously.

It’s called Rocking.

Here’s a pic:

Rocking 300x130 Goofy Exercise That Improves Your Posture, Boosts Your Strength

Now the really cool part is that anyone can do this anywhere. It’s an amazing reset and it works pretty well, which is why we included it in Original Strength.

But sometimes, we need to “back the truck up” and do some regressions. If you remember yesterday’s epic post of the “fat guy” doing a muscle up (how could you not?) I said I’d show you one of my favorite reset regressions.

Well, this is one of them. (We cover this and many others for Rocking at our Original Strength workshops.)

It’s called “Commando Rocking” and it’s very “tactical.” icon wink Goofy Exercise That Improves Your Posture, Boosts Your Strength

Watch this video Tim made for you where he explains it.

Good stuff, right?

Here’s some more good stuff about it – like why we’d use it.

Lots of times, people who have had lower back injuries or lower back pain have hyper-mobile lumbar spines. Their spines move too much. Usually this is because their hips don’t move enough and neither do their thoracic spines. Sometime, their necks move too much as well. (Ahem… looks in mirror… ok, this USED to be me and if I sit too much in front of the computer my body tends to revert back to these patterns especially if I skip my resets.)

So, they can rock really well. Or it looks like they’re rocking really well. But what they’re really doing is compensating and using their hypermobile necks and lower backs to rock.

Yes, this still “works” and is beneficial to a degree. But we can make it more so and make them really get into their hips, and open up their thoracic spine by making them do Commando Rocking.

And yes, if you’ve been to an RKC, you’re right, this does look similar to the Tactical Frog stretch. Similar. But still different.

How?

Well, sure, it’s an accurate assessment of your squat depth, temporarily, but by actually rocking with your head up we are stimulating your vestibular system, and resetting your nervous system, increasing proprioceptive feedback, training your core stability, and actually gaining hip mobility and stability.

Sure, there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the gist.

Rocking, especially Commando Rocking is a powerful and more importantly quick tool you can use to improve your posture in your own home without any special equipment or outside intervention.

Like I mentioned, Commando Rocking is ONE of the Rocking Regressions we teach at our Original Strength workshops.

For more information on these regressions and regressions for the resets found in Original Strength – like why we use them in the first place and how they can help you – go here.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Luko

Nice post Geoff!
I made yesterday a combo – rocking 10x + baby crawl 20m + commando rocking x10. Great energizer!
You should guys make some workshops in Europe :)
keep it this fantastic work, Original Strength really works!
Cheers from Poland.

Reply

GEOFFN

Luko – Working on getting to Europe… :-)

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Mark P

Hahaha, that exercise is great! Good post. Most people don’t have the understanding or body-awareness to really “feel” which parts of their posture are lacking. Most of us fitness enthusiasts and coaches can detect when we are rounding our back, or pushing our heads forward, but most other people can’t.

That’s why I like your exercise/drill that “sets up” good posture.

One cue and exercise that I’ve done is “closing a car door with my butt”. http://www.brainbodybelly.com/2013/05/11/mind-and-body/.

I had trouble hip-hinging properly, and this mental-image I gave myself helped immediately with bending in the hips and keeping my back neutral.

I think coaching cues/mental cues really help, as well.

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Billy Meyer

Geoff… I forgot to mention… this commando rocking is a gem. The hardest part for me is keeping my head up1 Imagine that. Just like any sport, it’s about reps… good reps. Thanks for this great tip.

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Brandon

This is a great drill for neuromuscular stimulation. As a fellow strength coach I always incorporate dynamic stretching for my athletes prior to getting in the their work. I also do a variation of this to work on the ankles as well by dorsiflexing the feet as we rock back into the stretch. I personally have to work on this b/c of the knee surgeries I’ve had from past injuries. This is a great drill for “setting the body.” Great post Geoff and thanks again for sharing my friend.

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Karim

Great post Geoff, I tried these and found that my lower back pain that had been bothering me for the last few days after my last squat workout has eased considerably.

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Nathan

Definately has had some positive effect for me just need to give it more time now , Thanks again

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Tamara Jones

Goofy exercise or not, this sure is an outstanding read and of incredible importance, too.
Nowadays we spend most of our time in a bad posture, and like that by itself is not enough, we rarely bother to take care of the rest of our bodies. The human spine is one of the many frail things about human design, or at least the way we have evolved. The spine carries just too much weight and we hardly, if ever, make an effort to do something that would make it easier.
Thank you for writing this, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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