Have you ever tested your posture? – Postural phone DOT test

Living with bad posture can lead to all sorts of problems.

If we understand proper posture and alignment, we’re one step closer to fixing a whole range of potential problems. Most postural injuries occur due to an imbalance (one muscle group is too tight, and the opposing muscle group is weak and lacking tone).

Posture problems may lead to:

  • Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
  • Headaches
  • Muscle atrophy and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Digestion issues and fatigue
  • Impingement and nerve compression


Postural phone DOT Test:

  1. Put on your active wear.
  2. Place a sticky dot on the front of your shoulders (evenly) – (see Fiona in diagram 1).
  3. Turn around – get your friend/partner to put the sticky dots on the back of your shoulders (evenly!). See Fiona in diagram 2.
  4. Stand barefoot.
  5. March up and down for 5 sec, then stand how you would normally stand. Don’t correct yourself.
  6. Get someone to take a photo. Front on. Side on. And behind.

Note: a selfie in a mirror won’t work, as we want even alignment with your shoulders and hips!


What do we want to see?

  • A straight highlighter line between dots (unlike diagram 1 and 2)
  • Ears are over the shoulders.
  • Ribs are over the hips.
  • Hips are over the heels.
  • The pelvis and spine are in neutral.



The two diagrams above of Fiona who is 24 weeks pregnant, are great examples of what to avoid when trying to improve your posture.  She is experiencing headaches, constant hip pain and neural back pain.


With regular postural drills and strength/alignment work, Fiona will see some fast pain relief. Fiona wants to start exercising more, without addressing these fundamentals, she will end up injured and frustrated. I have suggested for Fiona to start walking in the water first or doing some Deep Water Running at her local pool; fix her postural alignment issues, do some regular foam roll work (see diagram 3) then start a graduated land based walking program.


How did your dots line up?


If your sticky dot highlighted alignment is similar to Fiona’s, here are two simple “combination exercises” that may help:

Hold for 5 sec, and release. Repeat 6 times.  Do this 4-5 times a day.  Don’t forget to breathe!

  • Forward chin tuck: while seated or standing up against a wall (your feedback), slightly tuck your chin in while still looking forward. Press the back of your head against the wall (only 20% contraction). Now…
  • Shoulder blade squeezes: drop your shoulders all the way down, activate underneath your armpits, now squeeze your shoulder blades together (just a 20% contraction). Try to feel your shoulder blades even against your feedback (chair or wall).


If you are experiencing any issues that may indicate you have postural problems, an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) may be able to help. Find your local AEP here.