Having a swayback can change the mechanics at the spine when performing a squat, deadlift, or even motions that lift overhead.
In the his case, it is a result of the upper back being hunched over or an excessive rounding of the shoulders. In an attempt to not fall over the are glutes being over utilized by squeezing and pushing the pelvis forward. This puts the hips ahead of the shoulders and the lower back tips posteriorly.
These compensations will restrict hip and shoulder range of motion due to the fact that the center of mass is shifted too far forward, causing the hips to run out of room and the relationship of the pelvis and thorax are no longer present.
One of the most common compensations in the swayback posture during a squat is what is typically called a buttwink. This is when the hips run out of room and the lumbar spine actually rounds in an attempt to put the pelvis under the thorax. This will increase the strain and shearing forces within the lower back and affect the ability to load properly during the squat.
Below is a visual on what a swayback looks like in the spine and some solutions to fix it.
Here are two ways you can start to improve the airflow and mechanics within the body
Now that you have some more control, the next step will be to learn how to keep the pelvis shifted back during a squat to increase the range of motion and decrease unnecessary strains to the low back.
Above are some possible solutions to the swayback posture.
The key things to remember are that the swayback is a compensation pattern that has many layered components that first starts with an inability to fill the thorax. Over time, the body tries to offset the tipping forward by squeezing the glutes and pushing the hips ahead of the thorax.
Utilizing exercises that increase thoracic mobility and expansion along with shifting the pelvis back are the keys to success.
Start with more supportive and gravity eliminated positions to improve range of motion and gradually move to less supportive and loaded positions to progress and hang onto newly acquired motion.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.