The Posture of Success
When I was 10 years old I began playing in local junior golf tournaments in San Diego. I think the yearly membership rate was $11 and each tournament cost $5 and that included a hot dog and drink after the round! It was a great program and was the foundation that helped me grow into a high school and college golfer. I remember the excitement and nerves I felt on the first tee of every tournament. I remember the feeling of pride after a good round and how happy I’d be to win a ribbon after a top finish and get my name in the local newspaper. I learned a lot about competition, dealing with adversity, and body language.
My mom usually picked me up after each round. After good rounds I’d quickly walk over to the car, gently place my clubs in the back, and hop into the passenger seat and excitedly talk about every shot that day. On the other hand, if it happened to be a poor round my mom could tell before I got to the car. If the round was poor I’d practically drag myself to the car, throw my clubs in the back, and slouch down into the passenger seat hoping to never talk about the horrible round ever again.
Yes, it was a little dramatic. I was 10 and thought a bad round was close to the end of the world! Good things I learned how to improve my body language on the golf course.
Looking back I get a good laugh thinking about how silly I must have looked as I sulked back to my mom’s car. I’ve also come to learn that those poor rounds – and how I reacted to them – were great learning experiences and related to the TED talk by Amy Cuddy. Her main point centers around the question:
“Do our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves?”
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions.
How to Get Better at “Power Posing”
I am always looking for ways to improve strength and/or nutrition. I find it incredibly interesting that by power posing we can improve our own body chemistry and ultimately our strength levels.
So now the fitness geek in me wants to know.
What exercises can improve power posing?
If power posing – striking a powerful, expansive pose – actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior what exercises can we practice to help make us better power posers?
For our purposes we’ll use the classic “victory” pose to represent power posing.
Three important physical characteristics are involved in this pose. (click the links below to see related exercises)
- Shoulder Mobility – the ability to raise and extend both arms out and up without restriction or limitations.
- Core Strength – the ability to adequately control or “brace” the core muscles (abdominals, obliques, and quadratus lumborum) that maintain a rigid torso and elongated spinal posture.
- Total Body Power & Explosive Strength – the ability to produce and control maximum force throughout the body.
“Fake It Till You Make It”
Feeling nervous or overwhelmed can happen to anyone as Amy Cuddy relates so well in her talk. Our minds and thoughts can betray us and trick us into feeling that we may not be qualified, smart, or strong enough to be successful. It is in these times of confusion and doubt when we need to outsmart ourselves and trick ourselves into “faking it until we make it”.
If our nonverbals (body language) govern how we think and feel about ourselves then we must become aware of this and practice better power posing by incorporating the three exercises into our training programs. And if what Amy Cuddy proposes when she says, “our minds change our bodies…but do our bodies change our minds?” then we must do all that we can to strengthen our bodies.
Strong Mind =Strong Body=Strong Mind =Strong Body=Strong Mind=Strong Body=Strong Mind
I love the idea that I can strengthen my body to help strengthen my mind. I can strengthen my body to stand with more confidence and that simple act can improve something as powerful as boosting testosterone levels and lowering cortisol levels. That will help me feel better and be healthier.
It’s exciting to think that improving strength can help lead to better posture (aka power posing), greater confidence, and more success…if only I knew all that when I was that 10 year old junior golfer!
Improve Strength –> Better Power Posing –> More Confidence –> Greater Success
~With Strength & Nutrition