Most of us will admit that we enjoy seeing the benefits of our training when it comes to body composition. After all we put so much effort in day after day that even if we aren't overly vain it's a nice 'perk' associated with endurance sports. However there comes a point that we need to prioritise. Are we training to be fitness models or are we training to get podiums and personal bests?

The majority of us spend our working days sat behind a desk or steering wheel of a car meaning we inadvertently adopt (unless you are very careful) a slouched posture with hunched forward shoulders and forward rounding of the spine and neck. “How many of you are sitting up straight, correcting you posture as you read this!”  

Combine this with doing strength exercises that focus our effort and attention on our ‘beach muscles’- chest and abs; it’s no wonder we are seeing an epidemic of shoulder and neck injuries. 

Choosing exercises that require your back muscles to work will improve your posture and performance

Choosing exercises that require your back muscles to work will improve your posture and performance

The slouched position that we hold at our desks and in our cars encourages a shortening of the muscles at the front of the shoulder and chest (the pectorals or 'pecs') and elongates those at the back (mid and lower trapezius muscles or 'traps' and the rhomboids). And as you can imagine this position over a prolonged period of time, will become ingrained. Then to add to the matter further, if you're a cyclist you'll get onto the bike and spend hours in a tight, tucked aero position. 

One of the first steps that any good trainer will take with their athletes is to simply watch how they “move”, generally you can tell a lot about someone and any underlying imbalances by their posture and how they perform under load. It’s not crazy to assume that 95% of people walking through the door of the gym will have a forward rounding of the shoulders, either from poor posture or from an over training their frontal side.  In conjunction with that the posterior muscles of the back and around the shoulders will be weak, not a great recipe for everyday strength or sporting performance.

We all lead busy lives and are guilty of wanting maximal reward for minimal effort. But doing something to enhance your posture and get you moving properly will go a long way to improving not only your health but also your results. Make sure that the exercises you are doing are benefitting your performance, endurance athletes are not body builders so there is no need to be doing huge sets of bicep curls or doing max reps on chest press machine. Training like this will not help you become faster. Stay on track by choosing exercises that will support your health and movement rather than your looks.

For help with programming and getting the most out of your strength work, check out our StrengthForEnduranceKIT