In yesterdays NY Times (Sept 22, 2005 page E10) there was an interesting article on a commercial concept termed “Body Mapping.” Facilities are licensed for $300.000 a month to use an analysis to assess static posture based on an over head squat movement. I wish it were so simple. Posture is not static so, there is fundamental flaw in the assumption that it is possible to assess muscle imbalance from a static position.
Dynamic postural alignment and subsequent dynamic muscle balance are the basis for all training. Posture is a dynamic quality; it is not static! It is not a posed still position standing in front of a posture grid. Posture is highly individual to each person’s body structure and highly adapted to the sport activity the athlete is engaged in. According to Logan and McKinney, “The mature athlete tends to have a posture which is related to his particular sport if he has trained for years to become expert at his specific position or event. The reason for this phenomenon is the fact that the body tends to adjust or adapt to the various stresses or demands imposed upon it as a result of prolonged muscular activity.” (Kinesiology by Logan and McKinney, page 149) A good example of this is six time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong who evolved a position on the bike that is not considered perfect. Some experts were considering changing his position on the bike. The team chiropractors answer to them was: “It’s an imbalance, yes, but it’s also Lance Armstrong.” (Lance Armstrong’s war by Coyle p 50)
Posture is a dynamic controlling quality. It is helpful to think of athletic movement not as one posture, but as a series of postures. Optimal dynamic alignment of the segments of the kinetic chain throughout movement yield coordinated movement. If one segment or link in the kinetic chain is out of sync, this sets up the potential for performance error as well as a predisposition to injury if the movement is repeated enough.