how to stand correctly

How to Stand Correctly — Don’t Undo Your Training

Mariah Cressy In Motion, Medical 2 Comments

We work at our sport. Your definition of “sport” might differ from mine, and “work” could be a relative term.

But if you’ve found a passion for an active lifestyle—something that gets you out the door (or indoor on a bike trainer or treadmill) and moving, we’re the same. We crave the earth moving beneath us and our lungs opening up; our thoughts quieting to be swept away by the sounds of nature or silenced by the banging of our earbuds.

Let’s be realistic. The fact is that we have a love for being in motion and want to get better at what we love doing, but most of us are in an 8–5 job, sitting at a desk, or running kids to and from activities in a car. We don’t stand much. And if we do stand, most of us aren’t putting the time and effort into practicing correct form like we strive to in our sport.

Wait. Time and effort goes into standing?

Well, it should. Unless you’re standing with proper mechanics, you could be undoing any hard work that you’ve put into training. And proper mechanics aren’t going to come with the snap of two fingers — just like correct kinesthetic mechanics for your sport, getting into the habit of correctly standing takes time and practice.

Sure, we’ve heard that we should stand with our shoulders back and chest high, at the very least to try to undo the hunching we tend to do over our computer keyboards and smartphones. But did you know your glutes should be slightly flexed when you’re standing?

Correct Your Standing Form

Do yourself a favor and stand up right now. Test your glutes. Are they slightly flexed? Are your feet flared like a duck?

Now go through and check off the rest of this checklist:

  • Feet straight (not flared out past parallel)
  • Ankles not caving in
  • Ankles under shoulders — you should be able to draw a straight line, perpendicular to the floor, from your hip sockets to your ankles
  • Belly tight (like someone is about to punch your stomach)
  • Glutes tight (fully flex, then back that off to 20% effort)
  • Shoulders externally rotated in a stable position

This position is what Dr. Kelly Starrett, P.T., mobility expert, creator of and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard and Ready to Run, calls a braced spine. As Kelly puts it, “Standing is still high skill.”

Watch this homemade video by him for a visual example of this technique:

Integrating a Braced Spine into Your Everyday

We’ve talked about building a habit before on In Motion with RPM, but this isn’t something you need to carve out extra time in your day to do.

To do your spine some good and keep your other mechanics in check on and off the training clock, practice the sequence listed above. It’s easy enough to take 10 seconds to check in with your mechanics when you’re doing any of the following:

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Cooking at the stove
  • Doing dishes
  • Waiting in line at the store
  • Talking to a friend you’ve run into
  • Standing in the shower

It’s that simple. And implementing this technique can set you up for success with mobility in other areas of your sport. Let’s keep our spines as happy as we can in our day-to-day. 🙂


Like this article? You might also like: Is the Sacroiliac Joint to Blame?


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