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Analyze posture the Pilates way

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Ever wonder what you really look like when you are walking or standing? Do you have good posture or do you look like the hunchback from Notre Dame? A good pilates instructor will look at your posture before she starts teaching you exercises. You may or may not even notice her doing so, but this is how she figures out which types of exercises will benefit your body. Let’s learn how to analyze posture.
 
Where do you look first when analyzing someone’s posture?
 
Start with a side view because this will tell you the most about the spine. Find your subject’s malleolus (bony prominence on the side of the ankle) and imagine a vertical line or plumb line shooting up from there. Before getting into the details, take a step back and look at the body as a whole, and notice in general whether it is forward, back, or generally in the center of the plumb line.
 
Continuing to look from the side view, take note if any of these deviations are occurring.
1)      Is the subject’s head forward of the plumb line?
2)      Is there excessive extension (lordosis) or excessive flexion (kyphosis) in the spine?
3)      Then look at the scapulae (shoulder blades). Are the scapulae winging or anteriorly tipped?
4)      Is the pelvis anteriorly or posteriorly tilted? Check from both sides.
5)      Are the knees hyperextended or flexed?
6)      Are the ankle joints plantarflexed (i.e. pressing down on a car pedal) or dorsiflexed (toes are brought closer to the shin)?
7)      Watch the spine in motion. Have the subject roll down one vertebrae at a time and check for flat spots.
 
Next look from the front and note if any of these deviations are occurring:
1)      Is the head tilted or shifted?
2)      Are the shoulder joints (acromion of scapula) elevated or depressed?
3)      Are the arms (humeri) rotated towards the midline of the body (medially/internally rotated)?
4)      Is the ribcage rotated to the right or left? Is the ribcage elevated?
5)      Is the pelvis elevated or rotated (left or right)?
6)      Is the femur/knee internally/medially or externally/laterally rotated? Are they knock-kneed (X) or Bow-legged (O)?
7)      Is there pronation, supination, forefoot abduction, forefoot adduction, eversion, inversion at the ankle joint/foot?
 
From the back view repeat the steps from the front view except replace #3 with:
3)      Is the scapulae elevated, depressed, adducted, abducted, protracted, retracted, winging or anteriorly tipped?
8)      And check the spine for lateral curvature/scoliosis.
Joseph PIlates, age 59, "Strength with Symmetry"
Joseph Pilates, age 59, "Strength with Symmetry"

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