Posture Assessment

Side View

How to assess posture with Plumb Line

We often use the side ‘on’ view when assessing our posture. When looking from the side, place an imaginary line running straight up from the ankle. This becomes known as the ‘plumb line’ and directs our assessment into two halves. The part that sits in front of the line and the part that is behind the line.

Some considerations for doing your assessment.

  • Find someone else to do the observing, or
  • Have a photo taken of you from the Left and Right sides.
  • Draw a straight line up from the ankle (at 90 degrees).
  • Use these photos as your tools for analysis.
Posture Side View Plumb Line


Foot and Ankle

  • As the feet are anchored to the ground, they are less likely to move about and are an excellent place to start.

Knee and Lower Leg

  • Does the knee sit evenly in the middle? Or,
  • Is there more showing in front of the knee or behind the knee?


  • Does the line run through the middle of the hip at the level where the leg meets the pelvis? Or,
  • Can you see more of the pelvis behind the line OR in front of the line?


  • What are the natural curves of the spine doing?
Lumbar Spine
  • Is the lower back (LUMBAR spine) sitting evenly between front and back, or is it:
  • Too far forward of the line, with an excessive curve of the lower back (lordosis)
  • Too far forward of the line with a flat back, or
  • Too far behind the line, flattening the lower back, removing the natural lumbar curve.
Middle and Upper back (RIB Cage and THORACIC Spine:

Does the rib cage sit evenly in front and behind the line?

  • Or is more of the rib cage and spine: 


Behind the line:

  • Potentially increasing the curve of the upper back (Thoracic KYPHOSIS)
  • Rounding of the shoulders forward, shortening the muscles in the chest and increasing the roundedness of the upper back
  • This may lead to the head moving too far forward of the line. 


Front of the line:

  • Which may indicate a straightening or ‘flattening’ of the upper back (natural Thoracic KYPHOSIS).
  • This rigid ‘Military Posture’ may tend towards difficulty bending forward from the middle and upper back.


Does the line run through the shoulder? If not, is it:

Pulled back behind the mid-line:

  • Can indicate shoulders that are squeezing together from the back muscles, OR
  • Have issues further down the body in the legs, pelvis, or rib cage pulled you behind the mid-line?


Rolled-forward in front of the mid-line:

  • Similar to the issues in the rib cage and upper back (Thoracic Spine) in which chest muscles are tight or upper back muscles are weak, or
  • Issues from below may be pushing your whole torso forward of the mid-line, influencing your shoulder positioning. What exactly do we mean by shoulders?

Head and Neck

Does the line run through the ear? If not, is it:

  • Behind the line, with a ‘flattening’ of the natural curve (Kyphosis) of the neck (cervical spine)
  • In front of the line, potentially with an increased curve (Lordosis) of the neck.


The information provided should not replace the advice and expertise of an accredited health care provider. Any inquiry into posture care and any potential impact on your health and wellbeing should be directed to your health care provider.

Receive the latest news

Subscribe Now To Our Newsletter

Get the latest news, tips, and advice on posture awareness straight to your inbox.