Finally, strength training to support new positioning and movement is essential. While perfect posture and strength are not the “magic bullets” that eliminate all possibility of pain or pathology, they may reduce the dental professional’s vulnerability. Knowledge of what muscles to target when training for postural support and injury prevention is important. Strengthening the wrong muscles may prove counterproductive. For example, many spend time working-out the chest. For the dental professional, this may prove detrimental and further exacerbate pre-existing symptoms in the neck and/or shoulder region. When strengthening the core, the abdominal muscles should be targeted. However, focusing only on the rectus abdominis muscle (the six pack most of us are missing) may not prove significantly beneficial if the goal is lumbar or core stabilization. And, with certain pathologies, sit-ups may cause more harm than good.
The exercises put forward target the necessary muscles dental professionals must strengthen if they are to sit in a structurally stable alignment with minimal fatigue. The pertinent regions of the body include the upper and mid-back, shoulders, low back, hips, and thighs. As well, the exercises target areas of the body vulnerable to pain and injury, especially for professionals who sit most of the day. If followed precisely as instructed, they should not cause pain other than muscle soreness. If you experience pain, stop and consult your physician. As well, if you already have pathology, consult your physical therapist or physician before starting any new exercise routine.
These exercises are progressive utilizing various positions. The easiest exercises are described first in the lunge and plank progressions, with the difficulty increasing with each successive exercise.