Did you know that while you sit, your body adjusts its posture on average 53 times an hour? We call these “micro-movements”, and they’re part of the body’s natural reaction to relieving pressure on itself while you sit. Dr Brock Walker, Herman Miller’s Innovation Expert, helped us find a way to redistribute the muscular energy used in your body’s naturally shifting seated position, into pure human horsepower. But it only happens while your body is seated in a “power posture”, and it’s what provides players with more focus, helps combat fatigue, and gives you a competitive advantage. We call it Anatomical Loop™. When you unlock it, it will fuel your play with comfort you can’t see and help prevent sitting-related injuries like spinal disc herniation.
Written By: JORDAN HRUSKAPublished: 25/06/2021
MANIFEST MOMENTUM, PLAY BETTER
Dr Brock Walker has helped develop ergonomic seating technology for winning Indy 500 racers, NASA and our own designs from Herman Miller. The way he describes the body’s movements is refreshingly simple: it’s basically an interconnected series of levers and pulleys. It’s the perfect in-sync communication between the parts of your body that control all movement. This chain of events takes place even when you’re sitting and your body is adjusting and moving in small ways you may not notice if you’re concentrating on your play. When all of the muscles and connections are engaged, you can redistribute energy from your feet to your head in an Anatomical Loop™. Your own personal “Loop” allows your body to react and perform at a high and healthy level, so you can showcase your talent while you play. When they're not connected and acting separately, they're weaker.
Gaming chairs that are not engineered for a supported ergonomic posture sever the connection between our upper and lower body. When you slouch in these chairs, the Anatomical Loop™ connection is disengaged at the pelvis, in a sense, “powering down” your own momentum and performance. You have to sit upright with an S-shaped posture, with your feet on the floor, head forward, to increase energy from your toes to your brain.
“What we’re really trying to do, and why this will help gamers, is we want to design a way to increase the human performance, and the strength and the endurance and the reaction time of the gamer. And we want to do it without getting in the way. That's a big deal. Because most of the solutions that people have, get in the way of how your body wants to perform,” says Dr Brock Walker.
Ergonomic gaming gear supports and activates your posture, puts you in a prime position to unlock your Loop, and helps guard against long-term health effects like “gamer's neck” or disc herniation – a risk if you’re unconsciously craning your neck one way or another or leaning in to view your monitor for extended periods of play without the support of your spine.
“You can always redesign the environment around the human body, but you're never going to be able to redesign the human body.”
– Innovation Expert Dr Brock Walker
Power Posture: Connect Your Body and Get in the Loop
With an ergonomic gaming set-up that encourages your body to sit in a “power posture”, your body can absorb and redistribute energy via Anatomical Loop™. The goal: react efficiently, quickly, and as strongly as possible. It’s all about balance!
Here’s another way to think of power posture: imagine how your body would react if an intruder suddenly broke into your house. Or even how it typically responds when you're a little scared. It probably looks something like: torso up and alert, arms up and poised, muscles tense-but-ready, head forward and attentive. It’s essentially your body’s fight, flight or freeze physical response.
“That’s your innate intelligence of the body, working you through the flight, fight or freeze mechanism that's in you. I mean, it's just obvious. That's when you have the most body control. Body control translates directly to task control,” says Dr Brock Walker.
And while Anatomical Loop™ is a new concept, the fact that posture affects performance isn’t. That’s why traditional athletes, even at secondary school level, learn about kinetic chain theory and full-body performance to better help them achieve balance and control. But that information is relevant to players, too. Especially since, as a player, you need total body participation to be ready to respond to the game at hand.
How to Activate Your Personal Anatomical Loop
When you encourage your body to sit in a power posture, you unlock the powers of Anatomical Loop™. And as your body shifts with its natural micro-movements, it won’t meet resistance. That energy is absorbed, balanced and redistributed in the most optimal way. Each part and connection influences and responds to all others, whether the body is in motion or motionless.
Herman Miller gaming chairs, gaming desks and monitor arms help position your body to get you in the Loop and promote healthful play. Here’s how:
Step 1: Stabilise the Sacral Pelvis Region. Empower the Platform of Your Body
You may not know the sacrum, but it’s the foundation for your spine, which is attached to your pelvis. It acts as your body’s centre of gravity, connecting the top half and lower half of the body, like the foundation of a house. As a person moves from standing to sitting, the pelvis rotates backwards. Because the pelvis is attached to the sacrum, and the sacrum is the lowest segment of your spine, any rotation of the pelvis influences the shape of your spine (remember that pulleys and levers analogy?). Sacral support ensures that the body’s most powerful seated posture (chest forward, shoulders back, spine arched in a natural S-shape) can be easily held for the duration of your play, while channelling your body’s energy, without extra strain. PostureFit, Herman Miller’s back support technology, rotates your hips slightly forward to stabilise the base of your spine and maintain its natural shape.
Step 2: Find Your Footing
With your sacrum supported, now you have the stability, and freedom, to move your feet and legs to support your body as it moves throughout your play. There’s no one right way to position your feet, but with your sacrum activated, you can move them to respond to your playing habits: feet flat, or primed on your toes for the next move.
Step 3: Arm Alignment
Now, with your lower body stabilised at the sacrum and your feet balanced on the floor, your upper body will be upright and ready to perform! With upper-body alignment and lower-body control, you can rest part your elbows on your desk to access your mouse and controls to move and react the way you need to play your best. The height-adjustable Motia Gaming Desk adjusts at the touch of a button, so no matter what level you sit or stand at, your body stays aligned and your Loop stays engaged.
Step 4: Looking Forward
Once you’ve stabilised your feet, lower section and upper body, you can better balance your extremities – like your 3.5–5.5-kg cranium! No matter how many monitors you have in your set-up, if you activate your Loop, you have the opportunity to shift your neck and head to comfortably and ergonomically respond to your game. Ollin Monitor Arm lets you freely move your monitor to match your gaze – not the other way around. Adjust it any time you need to change positions so you can get the exact focus you need without disturbing your Loop.