Posture Is A Critical Key To Biomechanical Health And Athletics


Hi folks,

FitOldDog to the rescue with a can of gas. Photo by Jan Halle of Johnny's Gone Fishing

FitOldDog to the rescue with a can of gas but showing poor posture. Photo by Jan Halle of Johnny's Gone Fishing

Work on Johnny’s Gone Fishing LLC is moving along nicely, as Erica, Jan and I work to recreate a local community space and grocery store. This is all new to me, as an ex-scientist, but I do get to make some great trips to large stores seeking inventory for our shelves. Jan and I were off on yet another shopping trip when we noticed a car on the side of the road, with a rather distraught-looking young lady standing next to it. This was on an extremely busy road during rush hour, so we pulled over and offered our assistance. They were out of gas and out of dough, which was easy to solve with a little time and a few bucks, which we did. Upon returning with I can of gas, I did the right thing and poured the gas into the tank, during which time Jan was sitting in my truck, and unbeknownst to me she took a photo of the event as you can see. I was horrified to see that I still have bad posture, which I have been working on for some time.

FitOldDog showing poor posture during plank exercise.

FitOldDog showing poor posture during plank exercise. Note the curvature of my upper back and the way my shoulder blades are pulled forward and down away from my spine.

Your posture will influence everything you do, and can negatively impact your life and training. My issue has been a tendency to hunch my shoulders, creating tight pectorals, and shortening my stature significantly. Not good for running and, as it turns out, this is true whether I am vertical or horizontal. The day after that photo was taken I asked Rebecca, my Continuum teacher, to see if this situation could be improved. Rebecca did some work to loosen my pectoral muscles, and then took me through a series of exercises to modify my posture, which are shown in the linked YouTube video.

FitOldDog showing much better horizontal posture in plank after the ministrations of Rebecca.

FitOldDog showing much better posture after the ministrations of Rebecca.

The result of working for about an hour is shown in the subsequent photograph. See the difference in my posture in plank after doing this series of maneuvers. Especially notice that my back is flatter, especially my upper back, and that my shoulder blades are no longer pulled down towards my sternum. There is a lot more work to do, but it will improve with time. One great benefit was the fact that this procedure actually made me about half an inch taller.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Wow, half an inch!!! Okay Lofty.
    Surely the physical benefit is not height, that is just another of the Vanities, the benefit is in aiding the economy of effort.

  2. Hi Trevor,
    You are correct, it is not about height, it is about length and the associated economy of effort. Have you noticed that many of the best athletes are long and slim, especially runners, bikers, and swimmers, and that they tend to have excellent posture? In fact, ‘lengthening your boat’ is a saying in swimming to improve your stroke and thus your speed, or to reduce your effort, which is critical in endurance sports. I think that quite a bit of aging-associated shortening is due to people becoming unnecessarily hunched over, and thus down, even without osteoporosis, due to increasingly poor posture. Lofty I will never be, which I have happily come to accept and, in fact, appreciate, especially during long flights (several of which will occur tomorrow, as we are off to Australia, where I’ll meet the new ‘in laws.’). Life is good for the so-called vertically challenged. It’s all in your mind.
    I’ll be back in touch on the AAA screening soon.
    Kind regards,
    Yo bro
    -k @FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.