One important thing to remember when you’re standing is that you never want to lock your knees. Most everyone says, “Oh, yeah, I never do that.” But I tell you what – I thought I never did that until I really paid attention to my body during times of the day when we normally don’t pay attention to those things and I was in fact locking my knees. And I had chronic knee pain and problems.
When we lock our knees, we lose the basic structure of our bodies that keeps us in optimal alignment: hips anteverted; back and neck straight; and abs strong. Proper standing structure is essential for proper walking structure. And, if you’re a runner, all of this needs to be on point if you care to run without pain!
Not only that, but do this fun experiment: the next time you’re at a coffee shop waiting in line, look around at everyone’s knees. You will see almost everyone doing one of these variations:
(L to R) locking knees with OK pelvis and back structure
locking one knee (in this case it’s his left knee)
locking both knees with tucked pelvis
locking both knees with tucked pelvis and rounded shoulders
locking both knees with ribs sticking out (over-arched back or “sway-back”)
locking one knee (right) and slumping back and shoulders forward
locking one knee with hip jutted out to the side of the locked leg
one knee locked
one knee locked with hip sticking out to one side
Here’s another good one. See if you can find out what’s going on with their posture.
This is Esther Gokhale, in the front row wearing a (pink/red/coral?) shirt, teaching some students her standing posture technique.
You can see that
- her knees are slightly bent,
- her pelvis is anteverted (tipped forward),
- her core is contracted slightly, with her ribs anchored down
- her spine is stacked straight from her hips and
- her shoulders are down and back.
Her students are still working on their knees, though, I think. You can tell by how the pant legs hang if someone has locked knees or not.
You can also tell what things hurt (or will hurt in the future) based on how someone stands. Knees locked, depending on which one, or both, will lead to knee pain. One knee locked, and one hip cocked to the side will lead to back pain, usually worse on one side. Or hip pain. Shoulders slumped will lead to shoulder tension, for sure. Over-arched back will also lead to back pain. Chin jutted out will lead to neck pain. Tucked pelvis will lead to hip flexor or piriformis pain.
The next time you’re standing in line, take note of your posture and also, just for fun, check out everyone around you. What do you notice???