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A few months ago, while waiting for my turn to go skydiving, I noticed a guy standing not too far away from me. Aside from his physique, what I noticed the most was his posture. Just by looking at him, I could tell he had both “upper crossed syndrome” and “lower crossed syndrome”.


Upper Cross Syndrome is characterized by rounded shoulders with an interiorly tipped shoulder blade (s and chin sits forward). Lower cross syndrome is characterized by an abnormal posture of the lower back, which results from muscle strength imbalances. In simple terms; his shoulders were so hunched over that his neck collapsed in as a result, and his lower half of his body had a mirror effect just as the upper body, except it had to do with his lower back and hips. In short, he was a walking postural deformity that could’ve been easily avoided by incorporating more bodyweight exercises, free weights (dumbbell and barbell) and cable exercises as opposed to just machines that target a specific body part.

The greatest success in muscle development (and getting lean in a very short amount of time) that I’ve seen with clients is using progressive bodyweight exercises. Take the time to be able to do full bodyweight chin-ups/pull-ups, dips, push-ups (just to name a few) and switch from those isolated machine-based exercises to compound exercises like the deadlift and barbell back squat, which recruit higher amounts of muscle fibre. Not only that, because you’re up on your feet and not in the confinement of a machine, your posture will even improve!

I’m not saying you should completely leave machines out of your programming, but I do encourage you to use them less. Just because you think it would be a quick fix by isolating a specific weaker area in your body by using the machine assigned to it doesn’t mean it will get you the right results. Create variety in your workouts – don’t limit yourself to a body built in a smith machine, see and feel the results of training both smarter and safer!

Coach Marko | October 17, 2017

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