Are your postural muscles holding you back?

Postural muscles are a set of muscles that are designed to stabilize and mobilize the body. These muscles are designed for endurance and are the most utilized set of muscles in the dance population.

The postural muscles are meant to support and work with the deep core stabilizing muscles and phasic, or outer unit, muscles of the body. However, if the deep core muscles and the phasic muscles aren’t working properly the postural muscle will take over and work as stabilizers and mobilizers. In other words they start to do all the work! The result is tightness, pain, reduced flexibility and mobility.

Examples of postural muscles are:

    • Levator Scapulae
    • Upper Trapezius
    • Scalenes
    • Erector Spinae
    • Hamstrings
    • Iliopsoas
    • Rectus Femoris
    • Piriformis
    • Adductors

These muscles are made up of 51% or more of slow twitch fibers. Postural muscles are tonic in make up, which means they are designed to contract at lower loads for long periods of time. They have a greater capacity for sustained work but are prone to shorten due to overuse, underuse, force and trauma. Postural muscles can become hyperactive, tight and painful at times. If the postural muscles are tight so is the surrounding fascia. This affects the way we carry ourselves, flexibility, mobility, balance, alignment and posture. The treatment for this is to release and relax.

The deep core stabilizing muscles consist of:

  • Transversus Abdominis
  • Multifidus
  • Diaphragm
  • Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Posterior fibers of the Internal Obliques
  • Lumbar portions of the Longissimus and Iliocostalis

These muscles originate or insert at the vertebrae and generate little or no movement during activation. They are tonic in makeup and consist mainly of slow-twitch muscle fibers. They are designed to contract at lower loads for long periods of time. Stress, pain and trauma can inhibit their ability to fire and because movement can occur without activation of these muscles they can shut off.

Each mUvmethod class is designed to reduce pain in the body and release muscular, fascial and neural tension, particularly in the neck, upper, mid and lower back. Lower back pain can have a direct effect on the firing patterns of the Deep Core Muscle. As we work to eliminate and reduce pain students are able to activate this set of muscles. We also create awareness around them and teach the students how to consciously engage on a deep level. This reduces the workload the postural muscles will take on if the deep core muscles aren’t doing their job and allows for more fluid and effective movement patterns throughout the body. When working efficiently the deep core muscles contract prior to movement to brace the spine and provide segmental stabilization.

Examples of outer unit muscles consists of:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Serratus Anterior
  • Vastus Medialis and Lateralis

These muscles are larger and often lie superficial, or over top of the postural muscles. They consist mainly of fast-twitch muscle fibers making them phasic in nature. They are designed to contract to produce movement but they fatigue quickly. The outer unit muscles generally weaken under stress and respond to strengthening

Our program is designed to get you moving with ease and efficiency. As well as build stability and strength from the inside out by training muscles in the way they were designed to work. Each set of muscle is unique and plays it’s own role in stability. Once an understanding of the design and role the different muscle groups play we can incorporate exercises designed to engage and strengthen phasic muscles, release muscular, fascial and neural tension in the postural muscles and activate the deep core muscles. Learning and applying these key concepts can transform the way you move. When a clear understanding of how the body really works is established one can maximize flexibility and mobility in a safe and effective way.

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For the love of dance education!