Pose VS Posture
Like many other terms, these two are often used interchangeably. While it’s ok if you’re talking about arts and photography, it carries a different message when it comes to athletics and human movement. Understanding the difference will prevent a misdirected effort and help you progress.
In the Pose Method, when we refer to the pose, we refer to THE pose, the KEY POSE. As mentioned in an earlier article, while moving, a human body goes through an infinite number of poses, and the key pose is the single instance of your body being in a specific dynamic pose where an efficient transfer and redirection of energy and forces occurs. The alignment of the body required for the key pose in any athletic activity has nothing to do with proper posture. The athlete that gets to the key pose quicker and maintains it better is the one who is more efficient the others. The other natural outcome, a dramatic reduction of potential of injuries, becomes a simple side effect rather than a goal.
To teach the Pose Method we specifically single out and teach the key pose in running, and other sports. A trained and certified technique specialist knows and understands the distinction and will help you learn the proper key pose with the help of drills and exercises.
In athletics, we all can easily identify the sport by simply watching the players move. While the image below does not necessarily represent the key poses taught in the Pose Method for these sports, it’s a good display to get the point across. Each athletic event has its key pose(s). It is impossible to confuse a golfer and a pitcher no matter how far away the image is and even without gear or uniform.
If it was presented to you by a mime you’d recognize each sport each time without a doubt. That’s how deeply ingrained in our minds the language of the poses is. We communicate in that language daily without paying it much attention. When somebody is angry or happy, or is about to punch you, or is scared – you know it by their pose.
A pose carries the intent. Where as the posture is a static alignment.
Good posture is somewhat of a prerequisite of an effective execution of the key pose in movement. However, in my work with athletes of all levels and specifically with para-athletes I found that it doesn’t have to be perfect. What we need is a proper body pose.
A directive to focus on posture when talking about movement is not the right one. The cues to ‘stay upright’, ‘keep your posture’, etc given by coaches usually trigger the wrong response in a form of overarching the back, leaning back creating backward K-bend, exaggerated lift of the chin, pushing chest forward, etc. All of those moves create unnecessary tension and open the gates to injuries.
Another thing to note, is that quite often the term ‘posture’ is used to refer to the upper body, though of course the full body should be taken into consideration when working on improving your posture. Good posture should be strived for and efforts to maintain it should be made due to its many health benefits. But when it comes to athletic movement, posture brings little to the table.