Modern lifestyle has got us sitting for hours at a time in a poor position, whether it’s at a desk for work or web browsing at home or slumped on a couch watching TV and using a laptop. This leads to muscle imbalances causing postural problems, even in the active triathlete.
In triathletes, there is the additional training factor that both swimming and cycling tend to develop hunched shoulders. If you do not have the muscle flexibilities and strength balances to naturally hold proper, efficient posture all the time, you will struggle to reach your potential, no matter how hard you train!
In summary, forward head, round-shouldered posture decreases triathlon performance because:
- A forward head requires more energy to hold up during cycling and running, which can prematurely fatigue the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
- Changes to spinal curvature top to bottom occur, making the body less biomechanically efficient. Pelvic angle and limb range of motion also affects running stride.
- Hunched shoulders and tight chest muscles impede upward movement of the ribcage, increasing the energy necessary for breathing.
- Decreased shoulder range of motion due to tight chest and shoulder muscles decreases swim stroke length and strength.
- Forward head posture positions the head further down into the water, forcing one to roll excessively and work harder to breathe.
Most importantly, taking care of your postural imbalances will prevent injuries of all kinds. For example; the swimming and cycling aero position increases load on the neck, which when combined with forward head posture, increases the probability of ruptured discs and pinched nerves.
At Bristol Physiotherapy we aim to address these imbalances brought about by poor posture and educate you on how to avoid injury and enhance performance.
By Emma Davies