A client came in this week with something I have not seen before: a “postural” workout shirt. The shirt shown in the photo is a tightly sewn spandex nylon mix marketed as a way of facilitating upright posture and body mechanics. The client did report that she felt more upright.
Is this a fad, or could this be a valid way of working on forward shoulders that result from sitting all day at a desk?
I think that there is potential in using a shirt such as the one described. My concern, however, is that a postural shirt could easily become a “crutch,” or an excuse to substitute exercises with a passive solution. Why exercise to strengthen postural muscles when clothing can hold you in an ideal position?
The obvious problem with this idea is that postural muscles will become weak if they are not challenged. In this case, you had better wear the shirt twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
A better idea is to perform postural strengthening exercises while you are wearing such a shirt. The shirt will help to hold you in a more ideal position while you strengthen involved muscles. A forgotten fact is that muscles trained while the body is in ideal alignment help to maintain a better alignment long term!
We will follow up with this client to see how she deals with training in this shirt. More to come…