5 Reasons Your Body Posture Affects Weight Loss

If you are having trouble burning fat and maintaining weight loss, your body posture might be the problem.  What, you say?  Yes, you read it right.  Having a fit, lean and healthy body is impossible if you body posture is "out-of-wack."


Stop the pain and suffering by following the my 5 tips to improve your posture, health and weight loss maintenance:



1. Correct Body Posture is Critical for Overall Wellness

For your body to reach optimal strength, flexibility, balance and power, you must correct your postural imbalances and dysfunctions as much as possible.


Let's start by talking about correct body posture. I will write about postural imbalances and postural distortion patterns in the sections to follow.

The structural alignment of your body is called posture. The human movement system (kinetic chain) consists of three independent and interdependent systems: muscular system (functional anatomy), skeletal system (functional biomechanics) and neural system (motor behavior).

These systems must function properly to allow the kinetic chain to maintain structural integrity and operate efficiently. The central nervous system collects information (sensorimotor integration) from these three systems to maintain neuromuscular control over the body. Below is an example of good and poor standing posture:

Your body should also maintain correct transitional and dynamic posture

If one component of the kinetic chain is out of alignment, patterns of tissue overload and dysfunction will develop. This misalignment, if left uncorrected, will decrease your neuromuscular control and the cumulative injury cycle will begin.

And, you probably have guessed that this will decrease your performance and lead to injuries. Also, everyone has more than one postural misalignment or distortion pattern. These postural problems need to be identified before you begin your exercise program.

That is why it is important to have a postural assessment performed by a fitness professional.
 In the next section, I will discuss the cumulative injury cycle and postural distortion patterns. Stay tuned because your posture affects how you live, exercise and compete!

2. Cumulative Injury Cycle

The cumulative injury cycle and postural distortion patterns are real problems that everyone has to deal with at some point.

As I stated previously, you must correct your postural imbalances and dysfunctions as much as possible to enable your body to reach optimal strength, flexibility, balance and power.

I also wrote that if one component of the kinetic chain (muscular, skeletal, neural) is out of alignment, patterns of tissue overload and dysfunction will develop. This misalignment, if left uncorrected, will decrease your neuromuscular control and the cumulative injury cycle will begin.

If you are continually injured, your health, fat-burning and weight loss potential suffers big-time!

Patterns of postural dysfunction are commonly called postural distortion patterns. Distortion patterns occur because the structural integrity of the kinetic chain is compromised due to the misalignment of one or more of its components.

To avoid postural distortion patterns, you must maintain optimum static, transitional and dynamic postural control. Static posture was detailed in Part 1. Transitional postural assessments include:  overhead squat tests, single-leg squat tests and single-leg balance excursion tests.

Dynamic postural assessments include: sport-specific movements, agility tests, gait assessments and reaction time tests. Transitional and dynamic postural assessments will be detailed later.

The cumulative injury cycle, which occurs because one or more of the components of the kinetic chain are out of line, follows this pattern:


  • Tissue trauma
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasm
  • Muscle adhesions
  • Faulty neuromuscular control
  • Muscle imbalances (less than optimal length-tension relationships). Muscles can develop maximal tension when they maintain optimal length. Muscle imbalances are caused by postural stress, pattern overload, repetitive movement, lack of core stability and lack of neuromuscular control.
When this cycle is completed, the kinetic chain can not have functional efficiency. When the neuromuscular system performs functional activities (body movements) with the least amount of energy and stress on the kinetic chain, functional efficiency is achieved.

Common postural dysfunctions are:


  • Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Postural Distortion
  • Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion
  • Lower-Extremity Postural Distortion
These postural distortions will be detailed.

3. Over-Training and Decreased Performance

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As just stated, when the neuromuscular system performs functional activities (body movements) with the least amount of energy and stress on the kinetic chain (human movement system), functional efficiency is achieved. Functional efficiency prevents over-training, injuries and lackluster performance. The kinetic chain can not have functional efficiency when postural dysfunctions are present.

When muscles are operating efficiently, they work together to reduce force, stabilize force and produce force in all 3 planes of motion.



Frontal Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into equal front and back halves. The motions primarily involve abduction and adduction (side-to-side motions).

Abduction takes a limb away from the midline of the body and adduction takes the limb closer to the midline of the body. Examples include exercises performed on a hip abductor and hip adductor machines.

Other frontal plane motions would be side lunges, dumbbell lateral shoulder raises and lateral spinal flexion. Quickness and agility movements made by athletes require adequate frontal plane stability, strength, power, flexibility and balance.

Sagittal Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into left and right halves. The motions involve forward-backward and up-down movements relative to the body and/or joint.

Examples would be walking, running, bicep curls, leg curls and seated back rows. Traditional training techniques (such as training with machine weights) have focused on the sagittal plane of motion. This is not an effective training technique if the other planes of motion are ignored during training.

Transverse Plane – imaginary bisector that divides the body into top and bottom halves. The motions are primarily rotational. Obviously, this will be a dominate plane of motion for many athletes. Baseball players (swinging, turning, pivoting, etc.), football defensive backs (hip rotations, quick turns, etc.) are just two examples.

The actions of muscles during movements are as follows:

a. Agonists - These muscles are the prime movers. For example, the gluteus maximus is the prime mover for hip extension.

b. Antagonists - Muscles that act in direct opposition to the prime movers. The psoas is antagonistic to the gluteus maximus during functional movements.

c. Synergists - These muscles assist the prime movers during functional movements. The hamstrings assists the gluteus maximus during hip extension.

d. Stabilizers - These muscles stabilize the body while the prime movers and synergists perform movements. Core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis, stabilize the body while the prime movers and synergists perform functional movements.

e. Neutralizers - These muscles counteract the unwanted action of other muscles.

Postural dysfunctions are caused when the kinetic chain is out of line. When this happens, synergists often do the work that weak prime movers should be doing. Notice the following:

a. Altered Muscle Length-Tension Relationships - The muscles can't develop maximal tension.

b. Altered Muscle Force-Couple Relationships - The central nervous system is designed to select groups (synergies) of muscles to produce movement. When this is altered, the wrong muscles produce movement at the wrong time.

c. Altered Joint Arthrokinematics - When length-tension relationships and force-couple relationships are altered, normal joint movement is also altered.

These alterations in normal relationships leads to the start of the cumulative injury cycle.

Common postural distortions are:

Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Postural Distortion - This distortion causes you to have increased lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt as shown below.

Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion - This distortion is seen in a person with rounded shoulders or a forward head posture as shown below.

Lower-Extremity Postural Distortion - A person with this distortion often has flat feet (pronation), feet pointed outward (slew-footed) and internal rotation of the knees (knock-kneed). During the squat exercise the knees will collapse and the heels will rise off the ground.



In the next section, I will detail how to correct these postural distortions.

4.  Common Postural Distortions

Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Postural Distortion - This distortion causes you to have increased lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt as shown below.

Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip postural distortions are characterized by increased lumbar extension and decreased hip extension. Flexibility deficiencies for this distortion are tight calves, adductors, erector spinae, rectus femoris (quad), latissimus dorsi and iliopsoas.

Common injuries caused by this distortion are hamstring strains, groin strains and low back pain.Core stabilization exercises such as tube walking, bridges, planks and abdominal ball crunches are also very important.

Upper-Extremity Postural Distortion - This distortion is seen in a person with rounded shoulders or a forward head posture as shown below.

Flexibility deficiencies include tightness in the upper trapezius, neck muscles, latissimus dorsi and chest muscles (pectoralis major/minor). Common injuries include headaches, biceps tendonitis and shoulder injuries. Important core stabilization exercises for this distortion include prone cobras and cervical retraction.

Lower-Extremity Postural Distortion - A person with this distortion often has flat feet (pronation), feet pointed outward (slew-footed) and internal rotation of the knees (knock-kneed). During the squat exercise the knees will collapse and the heels will rise off the ground.

Flexibility deficiencies are tightness in the calves, peroneals, adductors, iliotibial band (IT), Iliopsoas and rectus femoris (quad). Common injuries for this distortion are plantar fascitis, shin splints and patellar tendonitis (jumper's knee). Core stabilization exercises that can be performed are tube walking, bridges, planks and abdominal ball crunches.



Stop me if you have heard this before---flexibility and core strength are critical! They are the main problems behind the postural distortions that we have. Now, get that posture corrected!

5.  Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries are very common. The shoulder girdle is very important to your body's core structure, stabilization and efficiency. And, shoulder injuries tend to cause other injuries. So, take care of them!



When it comes to any injury, prevention is critical. A typical injury I see in clients and others is many times related to soft tissues (i.e., tendons, ligaments, muscles, etc.).

Treatment of any soft tissue injury during the first 24-72 hours is important to offset any further injury and inflammation. The general rule of thumb is to use the R.I.C.E.R. principle (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Medical Assistance). Here are some common shoulder injuries:

Frozen Shoulder - This condition affects the shoulder joint capsule. Joint stiffness and loss of movement are the primary symptoms. Anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy are usually needed.

Shoulder Tendonitis - This condition does not affect the joint capsule but does affect the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint. Pain, weakness and inflammation accompany shoulder tendonitis. The two main causes are degeneration and wear and tear.

Since the shoulder is a very tendinous area, it receives very little blood supply. Massage is often used to increase blood flow and oxygen to this area.

Rotator Cuff Injury - This can be a muscle strain or tear due to heavy lifting or excessive force being placed on the shoulder (such as wear and tear from throwing a ball). The larger the tear, the harder it is to lift or extend the arm.

As with tendonitis, pain, weakness and inflammation accompany rotator cuff injuries. This condition also does not affect the joint capsule but does affect the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries can sometimes take months to heal because of the lack of blood supply to this area. Massage will increase blood flow and oxygen to this area.

It takes an integrated training program to lessen the chances of shoulder injuries. There are no guarantees, but taking the following steps can help keep your shoulders injury-free:

a. Poor Technique: Bad throwing/motion habits will certainly lead to shoulder problems. When fatigue sets in, the shoulder problems increase. It is critical to learn proper throwing/motion technique in your sport.

b. Flexibility: Adequate flexibility is important for every part of the body and especially so for the shoulder. Freedom of movement for the pelvis, trunk, scapula, and humerus are important. For the rotator cuff, balancing the forces centering the head of the humerus and freedom of movement is critical.

The rotator cuff muscles are dependent on good positioning of the scapula for effective control. Bad positioning of the scapula results in decreased ability of the shoulder muscles to produce power. Static stretching for flexibility should not be done prior to training or athletic competition (a dynamic flexibility routine prepares the entire body best for competition).

c. Core Strength and Stability: All movement begins with the core, so it is essential to strenghen and stabilize it. For the shoulder, the important areas are the lumbar spine, cervical spine and the scapulothoracic joint. If these areas are not stable, extra loading and strain is passed on to the shoulder joint.

d. General Muscle Strength: Once the body's core is adequately strengthened and stabilized, the body's limbs should then be strengthened. A strong core maximizes limb strength and power.

Now, you have to do something to improve your body posture, health and weight loss maintenance.

Be sure and download your Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!  It has three levels:  beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Start at your level today!  

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES



About Mark

About Mark

Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.

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