Do you remember making funny faces as a child? Participate long enough and someone nearby would eventually threaten that your face would freeze that way. The notion was preposterous and yet planted a seed of fear that caused some of us to reconsider. Well, instead of fear, I’d like to plant the notion of promise in terms of one of your habitual gym behaviors. “Lift how you want to leave,” I say. It won’t make your silly face stick, but it can drastically improve your posture and range of motion well after you’ve left the gym.
The key distinction in strength training (lifting) is the presence of an external load (i.e. dumbbell, barbell, pulley plate, body weight, etc.) The additional load integrated into movements during strength training will cause our muscles to breakdown and rebuild stronger (pretty awesome.) As women, loading the body elicits positive, powerful changes to our bone density, resting metabolism and capacity for movement. BUT, how exactly we hold ourselves when executing these exercises is an often overlooked detail . So, “lift how you want to leave.”
The way you actually stand and hold yourself during your strength training (lifting) will quite literally affect how you stand and hold yourself later. You are training your muscles. So, train them well. As women, there is a generally preferred posture: free neck, shoulders down and back, symmetrical left and right sides, abdomen free to breath while supported, long spine, knees tracking over feet and from the side: ears over shoulders over hips over knees over ankles. I have yet to have a woman enter an Assessment requesting a thicker neck, rounded shoulders, asymmetrical stance and a distended abdomen. I realize you may not think of it in these terms but posture is a powerful communicator and an easy added benefit to your time in the gym. In completing your exercises, keep “lift how you want to leave” in mind. Maintain an awareness of your posture and form. It will serve you well.