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May 2013

Performing Posture Assessments to Become a Community Resource

By Ken Baldwin, Certified Posture Specialist, Executive Director of NPI

(This article is originally published on clubsolutionsmagazine.com)

A lot of fitness professionals underestimate the importance of conducting posture/body alignment assessments prior to teaching an exercise movement or strength training activity.  Out of all the various assessments one could perform on a client, posture assessments in both the static and dynamic position are the most critical ones.  By not performing these assessments, a professional is limited in their knowledge of where to begin with a client.

Furthermore, not knowing a client’s initial postural abnormalities and muscular imbalances can allow professional trainers to inadvertently teach exercises that will cause further muscular imbalance or injuries, and possibly increase posture-related issues down the road. Health clubs, fitness facilities and personal training studios can all utilize a posture grid to attract new members, retain current members and build a strong personal trainer client base.

Rarely does one come across an individual, client, new member or even a fellow health and fitness professional that hasn’t said, “my posture is really bad,” or “I have neck and lower back pain.” Most people love the individual attention and direct focus on improvement while having their posture assessed. They appreciate the opportunity to be educated by a professional on where their current postural alignment issues are located and to be presented with a plan to correct it.

A typical posture assessment can be conducted in 10-15 minutes, and a more detailed one might take 20-30 minutes. The posture grid is designed to provide perspective and quantitative measurements. Posture grids with 2-by-2-inch blocks allow the Certified Posture Specialist, personal trainer, exercise instructor, or other health and fitness professional, to analyze and detect postural deviations in three planes of movement; anterior, posterior and both lateral sides. Photographs taken from head to toe during the initial assessment are also valuable tools.

It doesn’t matter if your members or clients are young or old, new exercisers or dedicated fitness buffs, college or professional athletes or desk job paper pushers. Everyone needs to have their posture and exercise movement performance assessed on a monthly basis for proper alignment. Clients with more serious posture imbalances should be assessed at the end of every week of training sessions.

Those that wish to expand their client base or health club membership may find that promoting a monthly posture workshop for the friends and family of current club members can be a valuable asset. These workshops bring in new clientele and act as an outreach to the surrounding community.

By hosting a posture assessment workshop as a community event, your facility becomes a resource that members are proud to invite others to. It opens your doors to anyone seeking solutions for posture correction or who are curious about how to perform resistance-training exercises correctly. Posture assessments using a posture grid in these workshops can provide individuals critical feedback for the causes of current pain, tight muscles, imbalances, and most importantly, the non-invasive simple solutions for correcting them. A large percentage of money spent in the health industry involves individuals seeking to relieve these issues. Why not drive some of that business to your doorstep while actually helping others improve their physical well-being and quality of life?

By implementing this simple posture assessment process, your facility becomes accessible to a client population that otherwise might never have set foot in your facility. This gives your trainers and professional staff a chance to show off their expertise while providing relief for a number of serious ailments, forming a relationship that leads to years of loyal membership and a happier, healthier community.


About the Author:

Ken Baldwin is a full-time Associate Professor at the State University of New York, Certified Posture Specialist™, and the Executive Director for The National Posture Institute (NPI). Ken is the Senior Editor, content expert, and lead author for ACSM’s Resources for the Personal Trainer Textbook (2nd Edition), former Chair of IDEA’s National Personal Trainer Committee, and served on national committees with organizations that include the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), AAHPERD, and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA).  Ken can be reached at ken@npionline.org 


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