Working with Postural Deviations as a Personal Trainer
As personal trainers, we want to help our clients achieve their fitness goals. However, there is one key element that many trainers miss: a client's posture. Keep on reading as we debunk posture and dive into this subject.
In this blog, we break down the different types of postural deviations so you can recognise them in your clients. We also introduce you to Sports Massage Therapy: a qualification you can add to your fitness CV to help improve your client's health and fitness.
Posture and Personal Training
Posture is a key element to creating and achieving an aesthetic and well-functioning body that we train so hard in the gym for. As aspiring or qualified personal trainers, we must always be aware of posture in the gym with our clients and ourselves.
Why we hear you ask? This is so we are able to perform exercises correctly, therefore, pushing ourselves toward our goals.
What are Postural Deviations?
As part of our Personal Training education, we learn what posture is and what exercises to use to help adjust and maintain correct posture. We learn the basics of correct posture, but how many of us know what incorrect posture looks like and how to treat it?
These incorrect postures we call Postural Deviations: a term used to describe different ways our posture can become unaligned from the ‘norm’.
To combat these postural deviations, we study sports massage therapy to learn and help treat these in our clients.
We want to introduce you to some common postural deviations that a Sports Massage Therapist is taught to notice, understand and treat.
Sports Massage Therapy is a key way we can further ourselves as personal trainers so we can offer a complete service to our clients. Let’s dive into the different types of postural deviations that are commonly found:
The most common postural deviation is called Hyperkyphosis or Upper Crossed Syndrome. It simply means hyperkyphotic spinal position (where the spine's normal curved position is comprised of the thoracic region being flexed) is combined with protracted shoulders and a forward poking head.
This means that the thoracic region of your back is overactive leaving a rounding of the shoulders.
This can be caused by many lifestyle factors as well as incorrect training, something we don’t always notice as personal trainers.
Another common postural deviation is Hyperlordosis or Lower Crossed Syndrome. This simply means that the person has an anterior pelvic tilt (where your pelvis is tipped to the floor making the Glutes appear tilted upwards) which can therefore feel like a tightening of the hamstrings.
With the stretch on the rectus abdominis due to the anterior pelvic tilt, we can see the body compensate by lifting the origin of the ischium. Therefore it can contribute to the hamstring feeling tight.
3. Slumped Posture
Our last common postural deviation that we are taking a peek at is Slumped Posture. Many of you will have heard of this one and may even suffer from it yourselves.
This type of posture is most noticeable when sitting. Slumped posture is a combination of hyperkyphosis (as discussed above) and hyperlordosis (an exaggerated lumbar curvature in the spine).
However, when looking at a client with a slumped posture, you will see no second curvature, like the body is returning to the fetal position.
We can define these characteristics of this postural deviation as a visual lack of tone in the muscle area. Therefore when the body attempts to relax its muscles, it relies on the skeletal system to take the strain.
What Effect Do These Deviations Have on our Bodies?
These postural deviations can affect our client's posture causing over and under active muscles, increased stress on joints, increased risks of aches, and pains and increased risk of injury.
In turn, our bodies look for ways to compensate for these postural deviations. They start by using synergists rather than prime movers to create certain movements, therefore, in the long term, affecting our gym mobility.
This is where Sports Massage Therapy comes in. It allows us to have a positive influence on these dysfunctions or injuries and help the client’s outlook and overall well-being improve.
As a Sports Massage Therapist, you can assist, help correct and improve a client’s muscles. You will aid their movement, increase their flexibility, relieve their tightness and assist in their muscle deviations through a variation of massage techniques.
How to Become a Sports Massage Therapist?
To become a sports massage therapist, you must complete a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy qualification. This basic qualification gives you the tools and skills to start practising this form of massage.
You can further your skills by adding a Level 4 Sports Massage Qualification to your fitness CV, this further’s your knowledge as a practising professional. This qualification goes deeper into subjects such as dysfunctional tissue, without acute/post-acute injuries or underlying pathological conditions therapy.
What Do I Need to Become a Sports Massage Therapist?
There are no specific entry requirements to start a Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy qualification, you just need to have a passion for helping others.
This is a great course for personal trainers. Many PT’s naturally move to this qualification to offer the full package to their clients. It gives you the next step in your fitness education and offers great additional income.
This course allows you to treat your client with massage and tailor your training program exercises in the gym to suit your client to a more advanced level.
How do you study Sports Massage Therapy?
The great thing about sports massage therapy is you can study it online or at a face-to-face course. Depending on your lifestyle and study preference, you can choose which works best for you.
There you have it, a quick dive into postural deviation and how you can see them as a personal trainer. To learn more, check out our sports massage therapy qualification as an add on for personal trainers.