Fix Forward Head Posture
Figure 1. Ideal postural alignment and muscles of the core.
Fix Forward Head Posture – Improving the core is more than having a good looking six pack, the core muscles are linked to your posture. When muscles are short and tight they pull joints into incorrect positions.
For example, in the figure 2 (please see below) we see in diagram labelled C that the muscles in the back of the legs are overly strong and dominant causing the pelvis to be pulled downwards.
While the muscles of the abdominals are pulling up. This is causing the spine to be too flat. In APT, the muscles are pulling the pelvis in the opposite direction causing the spine to become too rounded.
Four examples of bad posture caused by tight muscles.
You can think of ideal postural alignment as being the perfect balance between all the muscles in the body.
The closer you are to ideal alignment the less likely you are to pick up a sports related injury, or suffer from lower back pain.
From a performance point of view good posture, and good muscle balance acts as a great platform to launch your training.
You wouldn’t race a car for twenty laps with a flat tyre for obvious reasons, so training the core is important for performance, injury prevention and spinal health.
- Improve your flexibility. No matter how much you work your abdominals you won’t achieve ideal postural alignment if your flexibility is poor. The key muscles to stretch are often the hamstrings (back of your legs), hip flexors and lower back (see figure 2). These muscles can become tight if you work at a desk all day.
- Strengthen the abdominals. The key muscles to strengthen are your Transverse abdominal muscles (TVA) and internal oblique’s. The TVA muscle is the deepest abdominal muscle. It is located underneath your superficial muscles and when activated it tightens around your waist into your back like a belt. This provides greater stability and support for your back (see figure 1).
- Train functionally. If you have never done core work before, or you have had a history of back problems it may be simpler to start on the floor, if you have trained the core before then get off the floor. The core muscles job is to help the spine and work with it, by performing big compound movements like a squat you will have weight going through your spine which will cause higher levels of stimulation for the core muscles. Also, you will be training the core in a functional way, a way that it is use to working day to day. We use our core when we bend to pick up objects from the floor, when we run, jump and twist. This is why it is better to train the core off the floor.
How To Fix forward head posture
How To Fix forward head posture – If you work at a desk for a few hours every day it is highly likely that you are going to get changes in your posture.
Sitting at a desk and looking at a computer all day long can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain, as well as upper and lower back pain.
This is due to the fact that your head is strectched out too far in front of the body and the weight of the head actually causes pain and strain on the neck shoulders and back.
The type of posture developed by sitting at a desk all day long is known as forward head posture. Please see below.
To assess normal posture and normal correct head position we would like at the position of the ear in relation to the shoulder.
In the picture above the ear is a few inches forward from the center of the shoulder, and is rounding the back. Compare to the picture below where the head is back and the upper back is flatter.
Due to the fact that the back is flatter it is less likely to place strain on both the neck and back. This is due to the fact that for every inch your head is forward, you can multiply the weight of your head by the distance in inches.
Other ways to get this type of posture
Taller people can develop this posture because they are looking downward at people shorter than them.
No matter how it’s caused it can cause people to experience pain in their shoulder, neck and it can also lead to injuries in the shoulder area due to the movement restrictions placed on the shoulder.
People with this type of posture will have arms that are rotated inward, a head that pokes forward, and an excessively rounded upper back.
In order to overcome this posture you will need to do a combination of stretches for the tight muscles, and strengthening exercises for the muscles that become weak. Below are my top 5 tips for fixing forward head posture.
Exercises to fix forward head posture
- Stretch the chest muscles, these muscles become short and strong and due to their attachment on the arms they can bring the shoulders forward.
- Stretch your latisimus Dorsi (see the picture below). These muscles are found on the back, and connect from the arm to the lower back and top of your pelvis When this muscle becomes short it causes the arms rotate inwards causing the knuckles to face forward (see forward head posture).
- Stretch the muscles in the front of the neck. There are muscles at the front of your neck that bring your head forward. These muscles get over used when you develop poking head posture, so they get strong and short, which is why they need to be stretched.
Make sure you keep your mouth closed, hold for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times. You should feel this stretch at the front of the neck.
- Strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blade (rhomboids and trapezius). If you pull your shoulder blades together and downwards this will lift the chest upwards and stretch it. Please try it now. Can you feel the difference it makes? Because these muscles have an opposing role to the chest muscles, strengthening these muscles can significantly reduce poking head posture.
- Strengthen the rotator cuffs. The rotator cuff muscles play an important role in stabilising the shoulder joint and prevent it from popping out. There are muscles of the rotator cuff that rotate the shoulders outward and others that that rotate the arms inward. When you have poking head posture your arms will be rotated inward, so to improve the posture you will have to strengthen the muscles that rotate you outwardly.
This exercise strengthens all the key muscles mentioned before.
Lie down on your stomach with your head looking down towards the floor. Have your arms extended and at exactly degrees.
Raise your chest of the floor, but try to make sure the movement is coming from the vertebrae’s in the top half of your back rather than the bottom half.
As your chest is raised, keep your head facing downward and then rotate your arms outward until your thumbs are facing the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds and then return to the start position.
Topic: How to fix forward head posture