GYM: Neutral Spine Awareness
Neutral Spine Awareness
Start in a supine position, arms by your side and palms facing upward, Gently move around until you settle comfortably in a neutral position.
There should be a space between your lower back and the floor. This is the lumbar curve. Take one hand and as you bend at the elbow and rotate to a palm down position, place this hand under the small of your back (lumbar curve).
In this position think about how much pressure is on your hand and then bend your knees placing your feet flat on the floor without this pressure changing. Engage the abdominal muscles and teach them to maintain neutral spine in this position.
Once you can move from legs extended to knees bent and feet flat without lightening or increasing the pressure on your hand under the lumbar curve, progress to raising your knees up so you have a 90 degree angle at both the hips and the knees.
Again, do this without any change in the lumbar curve as indicated by consistent pressure on the hand.
BE SURE TO BREATHE NORMALLY. Holding your breath utilizes the diaphragm for stabilization as opposed to the abdominal muscles.
Training the external core muscles to maintain a neutral spine helps to increase longevity and decrease injury.
Breath holding while performing a plank, roll out or other abdominal exercises betrays the functionality of these important muscles.
If you have to hold your breath to complete these exercises the exercise is too difficult and you should back up in the progression.