Table of Contents

Glossary of Posture

Glossary of Posture

The terms within this page are structured in alphabetical order and provide an introduction into the glossary of posture.


Abduction involves moving a limb or body part AWAY from the body’s midline. This action is seen in exercises like side leg raises, which engage the outer thigh and hip muscles by moving the leg laterally away from the body’s center.


Adduction refers to moving a limb or body part TOWARDS the body’s midline. An example is the motion of bringing the legs together from a spread position, activating the inner thigh muscles, commonly used in fitness and rehabilitation exercises.


Alignment denotes the proper positioning of body parts relative to each other. Proper alignment, such as stacking the shoulders directly over the hips in a standing posture, is essential for maintaining an efficient posture and minimizing the risk of injuries.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

An anterior pelvic tilt is characterized by the forward tilting of the pelvis, often leading to exaggerated lumbar lordosis. This posture can result from tight hip flexors and weak abdominal muscles, affecting overall posture and possibly leading to lower back pain.


Asymmetry indicates a lack of symmetry, where the left and right sides of the body do not mirror each other perfectly, potentially leading to postural deviations due to natural variance, injury, or repetitive activities favoring one side.


Balance is the ability to maintain the body’s center of gravity over its base of support, which is crucial for all standing and moving activities. Exercises like single-leg stands can improve balance by challenging the body’s postural control systems.

Base Of Support

The base of support refers to the area beneath a person that includes every point of contact with the supporting surface. A wider base of support, such as standing with feet shoulder-width apart, can improve stability.

Center Of Gravity

The center of gravity is the point where the body’s mass is evenly distributed. Understanding the center of gravity, typically located near the lower abdomen in humans, is essential for maintaining balance during various activities.


A concave shape appears on the side of the body bent towards during lateral flexion, forming a hollow or inward curve. For instance, when bending to the side, the muscles on the bending side contract, creating a concave appearance.


Conversely, a convex shape forms on the side of the body, bending away during lateral flexion, characterized by a rounded, outward curve. This is evident when the opposite side of the torso extends during a side bend.


Circumduction involves moving a joint in a circular motion, combining flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction. This movement is exemplified by arm circles, where the shoulder joint moves through its full range of motion in a circular path.


Depression is the downward movement of a body part, such as lowering the shoulders. This movement, often incorporated into stretching and relaxation exercises, can release neck and upper back tension.

Dorsi Flexion

Dorsiflexion is the action of lifting the front part of the foot towards the shin by flexing the ankle joint. This movement is essential in walking and climbing stairs, playing a significant role in balance and mobility.


Elevation involves lifting a body part upwards, like elevating the shoulders in a shrugging motion. This action is key in many shoulder stabilization exercises, targeting the upper trapezius muscles.


Eversion is the outward turning of the sole of the foot, which is important for ankle stability and agility in foot movements, particularly in activities requiring quick changes in direction.


Extension is the increase in the angle between two body parts, such as straightening a bent elbow or knee. This movement is fundamental to daily activities and exercises, contributing to joint flexibility.


Flexion involves decreasing the angle between two body parts, like bending the elbow or knee. This basic movement is integral to various physical activities and functional tasks, such as walking or lifting.


Gait refers to the manner or pattern of walking involving coordinated leg, arm, and torso movements. Analyzing gait can provide insights into posture, balance, and potential musculoskeletal issues.


Hyperextension occurs when a joint extends beyond its normal range, often seen in the backward movement of the spine or neck. While some activities require hyperextension, excessive movement can lead to strain.


Inversion entails turning the sole of the foot inwards, crucial for precise foot positioning and balance in various activities, including specific sports and dance movements.

Isometric Contraction

Isometric contraction is a type of muscle activation where the muscle exerts force without changing length, as seen in planks or wall sits, often used to strengthen postural muscles without movement.


Kyphosis is an exaggerated outward curvature of the spine, typically in the Thoracic Spine region, resulting in a ’rounded’ upper back.

Excessive kyphosis can stem from poor posture or underlying conditions requiring targeted exercises or interventions.

We have a great post that discusses What Is Kyphosis?


Lordosis refers to an excessive anterior (forward) curve of the spine usually found in the Lumbar Spine (Lower back).

While a natural curve is normal, excessive lordosis can cause discomfort and may necessitate corrective measures.

We have a great post that discusses What is Lordosis?

Neutral Spine

A neutral spine maintains the natural curves of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions without exaggeration, essential for good posture and minimizing stress on the spine during various activities.

Posterior Pelvic Tilt

A posterior pelvic tilt involves the backward tilting of the pelvis, which can flatten the lumbar spine and lead to a slouched posture. This condition is often associated with tight hamstrings and weak lower back muscles.


Pronation describes the inward rotation of the forearm or foot, leading to the palm or sole facing downwards or inwards. While a natural part of movement, excessive pronation can lead to alignment issues and discomfort.


Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense its position and movement, critical for maintaining posture and balance, especially during complex or dynamic activities, and can be enhanced through specific exercises.


Rotation is turning a bone or body part around its axis, such as turning the head or torso. This movement is vital for daily activities and sports, requiring a wide range of motion.


Scoliosis is defined as a lateral curvature of the spine, which can significantly affect posture and may require interventions like bracing or exercises to manage and improve spinal alignment.


Stabilization is the process of maintaining or achieving a desired position or trajectory of a body part or the entire body, crucial for posture maintenance against gravity and during movement.


Supination involves the outward rotation of the forearm or foot, resulting in the palm or sole facing upwards or outwards. This movement is essential for tasks requiring grip stability or balanced foot placement.


Symmetry in posture means the body’s sides mirror each other in form and function, indicating balanced muscle strength and flexibility, contributing to efficient movement and reduced injury risk.

Thoracic Extension

Thoracic extension is the movement of extending the upper and middle back. Improving thoracic extension can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and forward bending, promoting better posture and spinal health.

Transverse Abdominis

The Transverse Abdominis is the deepest layer of abdominal muscles, acting like a corset to stabilize the core. Strengthening this muscle is crucial for core stability and supporting a healthy posture.

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Upper crossed syndrome is a postural pattern featuring tightness in the upper back and chest with weakness in the back of the neck and lower shoulders. It often results from prolonged sitting and computer use, requiring targeted exercises and posture correction strategies.

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