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Posted in: Coaching Top Tips

Benefits of power posing

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  • AJC Cuddy and others produced a number of papers from around 2010 on the benefits of power posing which demonstrate some 'life' benefits and include reduced cortisol levels (stress hormone) , a boost in testosterone and the inclination to take greater risks. This was shown to help with stressful situations like job interviews. There is a good TED talk/video on youtube which describes this far better than I can.

    I coach triathlon and racing involves some hanging around before the gun goes off and then a mass start where all hell breaks lose and in some cases thousands of athletes take to the water at the same time. The washing machine effect, the race conditions the weather and the fact you have a tough bike and run following can cause a lot of stress.
    I've been encouraging my athletes to do 2 mins of power posing prior to their race, as part of there warm up routine. Power walk to the line. Generally athletes find this hard to accept as a possible performance benefit and look at me like I am stupid. But some have tried this with some anecdotal reports of success. That is they felt less stressed and had a good race.

    I'm sure we all know that testosterone is a performance enhancing drug so naturally boosting this is something to be aware off. My athletes are not elites so there is little chance of being tested so i am not so concerned.

    Has anyone else tried this to reduce stress or increase performance?

    Has this been lab tested for performance enhancement?

  • Skipper

    Hey Gordon, be careful as the research behind this has been debunked by even the co researcher herself. A quick goggle and you can see morehttp://fortune.com/2016/10/02/power-poses-research-false/

  • Skipper

    A lot of the psych research has come under question lately, so I think it's important that we as coaches draw marginal conclusions without advocating the science/factual side of it. The issue seems to draw from the own researcher looking for the answers they hope to see when undertaking the research. If you have read thinking fast/slow by Daniel K, he is obviously a brilliant scientist but himself got caught with some of the priming research being unable to replicate. We are complex biological systems and in the end some of the complex things we try and make simple 'facts'/ conclusions are not really there but the result of looking at a population and things pop out (especially if you are looking from them). Ted talks are though a great place to stimulate thinking!

  • Good points Luke, but the endocrinology would be hard to fake, I wonder what went on. If cortisol was down and testosterone up that would be useful to athletes.
    I looked at the peer reviewed article, I have to trust the people who know more than me. But if people 'fall' for this and it works for them then the objective is achieved. A bit more Derren Brown than science possibly?

    In the end it does no harm so I will keep it in for now.

  • robertepetersen

    A couple of thoughts.

    1. Years ago I worked with a large group of educational book sales reps for Addison-Wesley publishing.  They did a lot of their sales calls from their home, on the phone.  Their manager always told them to stand up when making the call.  Her experience was that the calls were more successful and that the salesperson was more confident while on the call standing up straight and tall rather than sitting at their desk with their feet up. 
    2. Mental game trainers will advise that your posture impacts your sense of confidence.  In Mind vs Target Bob Palmer has a chapter entitled "Posture is everything" in which he argues for the positive effect of posture (whether natural or affected) in finding the peak performance zone.
    3. I enjoy watching coaching techniques at the bowling alley and at the trap field.  You can see by body language who is engaged in their practice and who is not.  I used to train dog carting.  We noticed that the dogs would pay more attention and demonstrate more confidence when the handler walked with posture and confidence.  It was part of what we taught new handlers.
    4. I'm not suggesting that all coaches should jump to this easy to implement technique (although it's hard to see a serious downside) but if you want to prove it for yourselves, coach half your students to play the posture game and the other half not.  Measure the differences.  See for yourselves whether it works.  Isn't it the results that are more important than the theory behind it?
  • NathanAbbott

    Anyone read the 'pressure principle'? C to the J??

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