Proper alignment will increase strength in the muscle and longevity in your career
Q&A With Charles Poliquin: If Only I Knew
We talked to the world’s greatest strength coach and asked him his opinion about the effects of posture on strength gains and longevity. Listen to what the founder of Strength Sensei has to say about posture and performance and how you can benefit from it.
Annette: Charles, we’re talking about posture and we’re talking about performance. Can you tell me what posture means to you, as a strength coach?
Charles: I think that if you look at posture and alignment, it makes a huge difference for strength levels. As a strength coach, I’m quite biased, but posture is important for everyone. For every half centimetre displacement forward, your spine is aging about five to ten years. That’s why the teenagers now, texting all the time on their iPads, have necks that are 60 years old. Right? But the thing is, when your chin is forward, you lose strength. And that’s why a lot of workouts I give to people require neck extension – to stimulate, let’s say, the upper extremity. But doing it in the gym only gets you so far. Posturology optimizes movement in many ways so you can correct the pathway (between proprioceptive input, the brain and motor output). I mean, we know that Posturology can even correct scoliosis. If you have scoliosis and try to squat, you are going to damage the spine. Proper alignment will increase strength in the muscle and longevity in your career.
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Annette: How much strength can an athlete expect to gain with strong alignment?
Charles: It varies, but I’ve seen athletes go from a 280lb bench press to a 400lb bench press in a matter of 16 weeks – once they correct their alignment. So basically, 120 lbs! Unless the person has great posture from the get-go – which is uber rare, it could be only 1-2% of people I’ve seen – I’ve seen people gain 70% strength once you re-align them. The instant gains make people really happy, but I’ve seen long-term gains of 70%.
Annette: Wow! That’s impressive. So with a strong alignment, what can you expect as far as longevity?
Charles: Well, for example, a lot of my colleagues are getting hip surgery because the head of their femur has been destroying the cartilage. If they had had proper posture, proper alignment in their twenties, joint degeneration would have never happened. So, I think that the earlier you can get aligned, the longer your career will be. The problem in our society is that we only show up to the practitioner when we have pain. If you’re a parent with a teenager that is into sports, it would be a good investment to get proper alignment. Even if they don’t go to the Olympics or the NHL, or whatever, they’re not going to suffer the sequels of not being properly aligned. I think it’s a basic principle. It broadens the base of your general preparation.
Annette: Right! Well thank you so much for sharing! As you know, what we try to promote, obviously, is targeting the nervous system, so that we can have an immediate impact on muscles, on posture, and of course on performance. Thank you and please don’t forget to like or comment on the thread below. And thank you so much Charles for taking the time to provide your insight.
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