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MYTHBUSTING: THE “NEUTRAL SPINE”

Ever wondered how Yogi’s and Acrobats are able to achieve crazy amounts of spinal motion and never hurt their back. Yet you, who exercises daily and lifts heavy, seems to have a bad back for 5 years stemming from bending forward awkwardly?

Neutral spine isn’t a single, static position that you’re never, ever allow to move out of. “Neutral Spine” is a range.

Sure, there’s an optimal position (ie. A “Neutral” spine) where the load-bearing capacity of the spine is optimal. But beyond this, there is some wiggle room where your spine can still safely be loaded with movement – the “Neutral Zone”

The larger this zone is, the larger movement capacity the spine has – and the lower chance of injury. If we only train and move in positions in a strict neutral spine, when we load a position out of this (ie. Picking up a box, moving furniture, gardening, etc) our back is not prepared for this amount of movement à Injury

Step 1: Establish Neutral Spine loaded – Bird-Dogs, Deadbugs, Hinge

Step 2: Expand “Neutral Zone” – movement-quality and control in progressive motion outside of end-range

Now, I’m not saying – train a 1 rep max deadlift with a completely rounded spine – but what I’m saying, is that if you have sufficiently trained your Lumbar spine to effectively be able to tolerate load at extreme ranges of motion (ie. Cirque Du-Soleil) – then by all means go ahead!

Summary,

  • Get really comfortable and strong in neutral
  • Explore movements and motion outside of neutral – progress from unloaded to loaded to expand your neutral zone and lower your chance of blowing your back out.

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