All About That Base of Support! That’s funny! Let’s acknowledge that the joke was low-hanging fruit and continue working our way through the four main areas of body mechanics, shall we? Last week was all about Posture. This week, we’re going to talk about the Base of Support.
A “base of support” is the area upon which an object rests. Where is our base of support? Generally speaking, it’s our feet.
Check this out. In order to set ourselves up with proper posture, we’re to place our feet about shoulder-width apart, bearing our weight primarily on the balls of our feet. This stance provides a fairly wide base of support and centers our weight above our hips. Try it. With your weight slightly forward, you’re in a position to move backward, forward, or side-to-side very easily. If your weight is planted over your heels, your entire body is already slightly out of balance and it takes more effort to move, especially backward and forward.
The first point in establishing a solid base of support is exactly the same as the first point of setting up proper posture.
- Place your feet 8” to 10” – roughly shoulder-width – apart.
To make your base of support even more solid, make the following slight adjustments:
- Put one foot slightly forward.
- Balance your weight on both feet. Remember, you’re not going to rock back onto your heels or shift the bulk of your weight to your back foot or your front foot. Keep your weight centered.
- Point your toes in the direction of movement.
This is all fine and good when you’re standing on solid ground, right? Let’s take a look at how this translates to standing on a beam. How’s this guy doing in terms of posture and base of support?
His feet are shoulder width apart.
He’s got one foot slightly in front of the other.
He’s not planted over his heels and his knees are soft.
His back is straight and his head is relatively level – he’s not hunched over with his head hanging down in front of him.
His toes are pointed roughly in the direction in which he’s working.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, this is simple stuff and easily overlooked. It only takes a few seconds to establish a solid base of support. Maintaining your balance and protecting yourself from possible injury is worth a few seconds, right?
Next week, we’ll get into the third area of body mechanics, which is Muscle Groups.
Stay safe, stretch, and wear sunscreen!