During the course of every day life, we will never be able to continually think about our posture 100%. Since most of us are regularly seated behind tables or constantly sitting for work, it is inevitable that some kind of change will happen with our posture. I remember my Nan used to constantly tell me to ‘sit up straight’. The problem with that is telling doesn’t always give you the desired outcome.
The Technical Jargon
The postural muscles associated with the extensor chain (or basically the muscles that run up the back of your body, from your ankles to your head) are constantly under the force of gravity, no matter where we are. Standing, sitting, bending over, they are all affected. If you are in a job where you are sitting for 8-12 hours a day, and I know you are out there because I used to be one of you, then your body is in the same position for an unnaturally long time. This is where we can have a lot of problems creep in. This picture shows you a list of the ‘posterior chain’ muscles. They are part of what are involved in posture.
The deeper intrinsic muscles that are pictured below are just as vital, if not more so to the health of your posture. What happens when your body is put under the constant pressure of gravity, is that it adapts. The outcome, however, is not as desirable as it should be. You will notice your shoulders start to round forwards, your sternum will drop, your head will creep forward and you will begin to lengthen and weaken muscles in your neck. While all of this is happening, these deep intrinsic back muscles are losing their efficiency. You start to get headaches and lower back pain and a host of other things. Don’t despair. There are a number of exercises that are specifically designed to activate and strengthen these muscles. The prone cobra is one of those exercises.
The Exercise – The Prone Cobra
The prone cobra is an endurance exercise. I am pictured doing it here. This exercise is designed to help increase the strength and endurance of the scapula muscles, mainly the retractors. It works on the external rotators of the shoulder and arms, it works on the endurance of the intrinsic muscles mentioned before, help support and increase strength and endurance of the lumbar spine. The setup is easy. Lay down on your stomach, arms by your side palms facing down. Move your arms out about 45 Degrees away from your body, lay your forehead on the ground. For a total of 3 minutes you are going to lift your chest off the ground. As you do so, you are going to externally rotate your arms so that your thumbs point to the sky. You will keep your neck in a neutral position, engage your lumbar spine to hold you and lift your chest off the ground. Your goal is one 3 min hold. But until that happens, start off slow. Hold for 10 second, then rest for 10 seconds. Do this until 3 minutes of holding is up, 18 reps total. As you increase your strength, reduce your rest time and increase your hold time until you are at one 3 min hold. Feel the burn and prepare for better posture.
In golf rehabilitation, you must be able to play your sport from a position of good alignment. You need good posture to be able to play to your best. This is one exercise that is getting you there, and you can do it anywhere in just 3 minutes.