In order to properly train your muscles, exhibit perfect posture, and build and maintain strength throughout your body, you should have a good understanding of what postural muscles are. These muscles are a key component to your wellness and how good you look. And they’re also important for individuals who spend a lot of time sitting or standing, thereby compromising their posture and throwing their spines out of balance. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer to practice yoga or train with heavy weights because, no matter what, you should be targeting your postural muscles to make sure they’re strong and healthy.
Postural versus Phasic Muscles
To better understand your own anatomy and make the most out of each workout, it’s important to have basic background knowledge of the two major types of muscles in the body. These are postural and phasic muscles.
Postural muscles, which are also referred to as core stability muscles, are found deep in the body, particularly in the pelvis, abdomen, and back. They include the calves, hip flexors, chest, and all the muscles along the spine, from your lower back all the way up to the muscles in your upper back. They’re responsible for establishing and maintaining an upright posture, and behave much like a corset to hold your upper body in place. The problem is that these muscles tend to become tight easily, and this tightness can then lead to pain. And if the body isn’t properly aligned or able to maintain a good posture, the postural muscles will continue to suffer and you’ll run into even more physical problems, including fatigue, difficulty maintaining balance, and poor posture that begins to become more evident whether you’re sitting or standing.
Phasic muscles, on the other hand, include the deltoids, glutes, abdominals, and triceps. These muscles are responsible for getting you going and for moving your body in all the ways it can be moved. They tend to become weak, which is the opposite of the tightness experienced within postural muscles. They’re also more difficult to strengthen and maintain, especially if you aren’t following a steady and rigorous workout routine at home or at the gym. As you can imagine, this makes imbalances within the muscles of the body even worse and makes you more prone to injuries.
How to Bring Balance Back to These Muscle Groups
To balance out the postural and phasic muscles, you should focus on stretching out your postural muscles to reduce tightness and improve stability, while strengthening your phasic muscles so that they can provide more support to the postural muscles, which won’t have to work as hard when it comes to maintaining an upright posture and mobility.
It’s also important to keep in mind that postural muscles are always at work, even when you aren’t thinking about them. Sitting at your desk writing or going for a walk are just a couple of the everyday activities you enjoy during which your postural muscles are engaged. During a workout, therefore, these muscles tend to endure longer without getting tired as quickly as phasic muscles. As a result, phasic muscles need to be rested more frequently, with workouts spaced apart from one another, while postural muscles can be trained to improve through increased repetition or more frequent workouts.
Put simply, training your postural muscles every day, but at a lower intensity, is a good idea if you want to bring strength to these muscles and stretch them out to reduce tension. Phasic muscles, on the other hand, can be trained in the traditional sense of using weights, aerobics, and other routines to build strength several days a week with plenty of rest between sessions so the muscles can repair and grow. If you’re a busy individual who finds it difficult to work out several days per week, consider diving into a course that will teach you how to manage your time and squeeze in a much-needed workout when you need it. You can also incorporate techniques, such as those listed in this blog post, to relax your muscles and get rid of tension and stress.
Working on Your Postural Muscles
A lot of people focus on working on their phasic muscles in order to build up those muscles that are most visible. However, neglecting the postural muscles can do a lot of harm, so you should never forget to also work these as well.
1. How Do You Exercise Postural Muscles to Improve Posture?
Start engaging these muscles by pulling your navel in towards your spine and up towards your ribs. Take note of the position of your shoulders, making sure that they’re rolled back and the shoulder blades are pressing down. Drop your tailbone down towards the floor as well to adjust the curve in your spine. Finally, bring your attention to your upper abs until you feel that your torso is straight and your muscles are firmly engaged.
2. When Should You Do This Exercise?
Ideally, you should be focusing on engaging your postural muscles all the time, regardless of what activity you’re pursuing. Whether you’re working out at home or at the gym, standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting at your desk working, you should make it a point to keep your abs pulled in, your shoulder blades rolling down the back so that your chest is up and forward, and your spine in one line.
3. Why Should You Bother Strengthening Your Postural Muscles?
Doing these exercises will strengthen all of the muscles in the center of your body, providing more power to your other muscles and reducing the risk of injuries during everyday activities and strenuous exercises. Keeping these muscles engaged will also reduce pain and discomfort, particularly in the back, which is a very common condition. And, on top of all of that, strong postural muscles also support the lungs and improve breathing. Plus, don’t forget that having strong postural muscles means your body will be straighter, taller, and sexier.
In addition to simply keeping the muscles throughout your torso engaged throughout the day, there are many other exercises that are specifically designed to improve your posture. Stretches are especially important for individuals who spend a long time sitting at a desk, often forgetting to keep the postural muscles engaged, so learning what stretches will elongate the muscles throughout your back is also important if you want to look and feel great.