The foundation for optimal performance is good posture and sound mechanics. Training without this foundation not only will be less than effective, but can increase the likelihood of injury. BackTpack was designed to be a posture training bag, with its bilateral, side-bag design.
Recent research at Ball State University's Biomechanics Lab compared postural changes with BackTpack vs the common backpack, with increasing loads. They found that not only did BackTpack not distort natural posture as did backpacks, but they saw a carryover of the postural distortion from the loaded backpack even after the bag had been removed.
The Importance of Loading on the Vertical Axis and Balanced
Loading the trunk vertically or using the hip-loading belt to apply a balanced load at the hips can augment strength, power, good posture, and balance when used in typical drills such as running up and down stairs or in balance training activities. There is constant kinesthetic feedback of vertical so that good posture remains the foundation. This is especially important with sports such as soccer, tennis, baseball and golf where axial postural control is essential to limit excess motion which absorbs speed and quickness and interferes with consistency of motion.
The essentials of good running form and speed as instructed by Olympic Track Coach Bill Bowerman are centered in the control of a neutral lifted pelvis, which allows optimal speed of knee lift. Conventional backpacks require a forward lean and associated forward angle of the pelvis. BackTpacks allow a neutral pelvis because the load is on the vertical axis, as in the head-carrying cultural habit of Africans who are notorious for their records in distance running.
From a Dance Professor, Western Oregon University
"Dancers are notorious for carrying around bulky dance bags slung over one shoulder causing them to lean to one side. Students often load up their traditional backpacks to such an extent that they must lean forward in order to counterbalance the heavy load of books on their backs. Both of these situations cause poor alignment of the spine and can lead to chronic neck and back pain. The design of the BackTpack is the ideal solution to both of these problems because it allows the wearer to balance the load evenly between both sides of the body, which promotes proper vertical alignment of the spine." Professor Sharon Oberst, WOU
Trains Habits of Sound Mechanics
BackTpack, when used as a school bag, becomes a training tool by reinforcing these sound mechanics, training "posture motor memory", and making everyday activity a training session for sound mechanics. Conversely, spending non-training hours wearing a conventional backpack will undo much of the training effect of your dance and athletic performance training efforts.
Ball State University Professor Recommends BackTpack to ATME Membership
Dear ATME(Association of Theatre Movement Educators) membership,
I have come across a product that I have in the past few years strongly recommended to my students and will next year require all of the performance majors to own.
As you all know, dealing with corrective issues in alignment is difficult and getting the students involved in a healthy daily practice that supports the work done in class is a challenge. The back packs they wear filled with heavy crud cause distention of the head and hips as well as a forward shoulder roll, all of which make breathing difficult and any kind of neutral form nearly impossible to achieve.
BackTpacks seem to be a good start to helping the students begin correcting 14 years or more of unhealthy physical habits. The BackTpacks are designed to help maintain an active alignment and promote a healthy daily practice allowing the students to extend the work being done in class.
Assistant Professor of Movement and Acting
Department of Theatre and Dance
Ball State University