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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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Riley Dane

RMT, Hons. BA Kin

I started out in this field because I was inspired by the care and sports rehab that I received when I was an athlete. From competitive gymnastics to soccer to varsity track and field, I’ve been in and out of my fair share of clinics!

I have a passion for helping people return to doing what they love. Whether that be sports, recreational activity, or returning to a pain-free everyday life. I want to work as a team with each individual to create a treatment that fits their mental and physical needs. I believe that exercise and activity is an essential component of wellbeing and want my clients to be able to engage in these activities without compromise.

Education-wise I went to Western (GO STANGS!) for my undergrad, earning a Honours Bachelor of Arts with Specialization in Kinesiology and followed that with a Diploma of Massage Therapy from Sutherland-Chan.

In my spare time, I like to lift weights, read, play volleyball and spend time with family. I’m a huge sports fan, especially the Leafs, Raps and Jays!