The mindful personal trainer part 1 (postural analysis of kyphosis)

Being a Personal Trainer is not just about prescribing any exercise you can think of, throwing them into a workout just because they are of great difficulty and trying to exhaust your client.
There is far more to it than that. I believe that every training plan should have a purpose, therefore every training session should have a purpose and as a result, every exercise in every session should have a purpose. Especially when you have been unfortunate enough to have picked up an injury.
Being a Personal Trainer is not just a job for me, it is a profession and one which I am greatly passionate about. When I see a new member or client for the first time I perform a general health screening and consultation as standard, I listen to their goals, analyse their mobility, their posture and then set targets. A mindful trainer should be a master at conducting training schedules that will not only achieve their client’s personal goals but also give them what they need. As a Personal Trainer I am constantly analysing clients’ progress, in particular posture and mobility. These are two markers of health are extremely important to monitor as bad posture and poor mobility almost always result in incorrect technique, which inevitably will amount to an injury of some degree.
We’ll take a look at some of the most common postural imbalances that occur in the spine and that both Physiotherapist and Personal Trainers regularly encounter.
As you can see from the image above there are three common postural imbalances in the spine with the image furthest left being the anatomically correct position for the human spinal column.
For the purpose of this article, we will solely be focusing on Kyphosis, often referred to as (hunch back) this postural imbalance is amongst the most common and one of the easiest to spot. You will notice:


Kyphosis occurs in the Thoracic region of the spine or mid section of the spine. The Spine has four sections and with it, four natural curves; The Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacrum. The second section, the Thoracic region of the spinal column, is the largest of the four and consists of 12 vertebrae. An excessive curvature of this section of the spine is the condition referred to as Thoracic Kyphosis, with the general public often calling it a hunched back.

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This condition for most people is very easy to spot, however here is a quick and easy method that I have often used to actively measure an individuals’ degree of Kyphosis. It’s a method I use to visually and statistically highlight improvements in posture. I call it the legs up test. You will need;

Fig 3- The Legs up test

Please be sure to make a note of the shoulder measurements so that you can refer to them at a later time.