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Part of my fitness routine involves standing for 20 minutes with the knees ever so slightly unlocked. The goal of this routine, theoretically, is to build up the so called "postural" muscles, which are the host of small muscles used to fine tune posture.

I have been finding it difficult to stand that long without my legs vibrating with that twitch that occurs when you have overexerted a muscle, indicating that I am using some of my large muscles in a position where they have remarkably low mechanical advantage.

Are there any small muscles which are used to keep the knees ever so slightly bent (5 degrees at most), or is that entirely handled by large muscles. If there are, then I know I need to try to determine how to innervate them. If there are not, I either need to rethink how I approach this standing, or I need to supplement with more traditional exercises (like squats) until I have the strength.

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You should absolutely be doing some compound exercises for legs and lower back in order to improve posture. A 5-degree bend at the knees isn't going to empower a straight spine and a strong back, which are the primary facilitators of good posture. Squats and deadlifts are our saviors here. For even more engagement, you might even want to try some olympic lifts.

In fact, I don't view this as something that will allow you to do the 5-degree bend more effectively later. I view it as a complete replacement for the 5-degree bend. Who gave you that idea in the first place? It sounds like you're trying to do the least amount of effort, but with little effort comes little progress.

Another exercise you should be doing instead, is simply walking. There is a lot to be said for an activity where you're moving, while focusing on a straight back, with your chest out and your chin up.

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  • I was trying to gloss over some of the details of why the exercise is being done, because the approach is unusual from a personal fitness perspective, so I wanted to focus just on the knee. The actual exercise is a Standing Meditation, where the goal is to develop sensitivity to the positions of the body, and then use that sensitivity to develop strength separately. Most personal fitness that I am aware of approaches it the other direction. In this case, the sensitivity is valued more than the strength, so it is acceptable if, in the end, it does not "build muscle." Smarter, not stronger.
    – Cort Ammon
    Aug 12 '15 at 15:54
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    My challenge is that I am finding myself dependent on "building muscle" in the legs to do the standing meditation, and I have a hunch that that implies I am doing something less than ideal. I know the standing meditation focuses heavily on the small postural muscle, so I was looking to see whether science was aware of any small postural muscles that can be innervated to affect the knee in that position. That information will direct how I go about adjusting my efforts.
    – Cort Ammon
    Aug 12 '15 at 15:55
  • I tried this today and it was surprising how twisted I was.
    – Noumenon
    Aug 14 '15 at 23:01

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