Improving posture must be built upon the desire to move correctly and efficiently at all times. Regardless of the amount of instruction given and exercise performed, Soldiers will habitually assume good postures only if they want to.
Good standing and sitting postures are characterized by vertical alignment of certain body segments. However, posture is not improved by forcefully holding the body in a position of ideal alignment. In fact, excessive effort to hold the body in a given posture will only serve to increase muscular tension and fatigue. Assuming naturally balanced postures shifts the weight of the body onto the bones, relieving muscles of the need to support weight bearing. Though the following recommendations are given in the form of a checklist, don’t force the body to immediately conform to these ideals. Habits that have been reinforced over decades will take time to correct. Regular and precise performance of the PRT activities in this FM will enhance posture and body mechanics.
Checkpoints for sitting (Figure C-4):
- Center the head between the shoulders and keep the chin level.
- Draw the shoulders comfortably back; don’t allow them to round forward.
- Carry the chest comfortably up and out.
- Maintain the inward curve of the lower back; don’t allow it to roll outward or inward excessively.
- Use a firm support between the lower spine and the backrest of the seat or chair to assist in maintaining the proper position.
- Maintain 90-degree angles at the hips and knees with the feet flat on the floor.
Figure C-4. Good (left) and poor (center and right) sitting posture
Checkpoints for standing (Figure C-5):
- Stand as tall as possible. The head should not be tilted or the shoulders raised.
- Center the head between the shoulders and keep the eyes and the chin level.
- Slightly draw the chin inward by pressing the neck back toward the collar.
- Moderately elevate the chest without strain. If the chest is raised properly, the abdomen flattens normally. Don’t draw in the stomach to the extent that normal breathing is restricted.
- Relax the shoulders and let them fall evenly. If the shoulders round forward, draw them back slightly, without strain.
- Set the pelvis and hips level (refer to Figure C-10c).
- Keep the knees straight but not locked.
- Direct the feet forward without strain. Variations in skeletal alignment will prevent some individuals from assuming the feet-forward position.
- Distribute the weight evenly between the heels and the balls of the feet.
Figure C-5. Good (left) and poor (right) standing posture