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Finding Neutral Spine

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

A few ways to find standing and supine neutral spine

We were recently asked if we had any videos showing how to find neutral spine. We didn’t. But we do now! Ask and ye shall stand up (and lie down) properly.

An hour past neutral spine

Alexandra: Before we talk about clocks and buckets, it would probably be a good idea to explain what neutral spine is. No, it’s not the border of Switzerland! No, it’s not center position on a stick shift in the “Shaguar” that Mike Myers drove in “Austin Powers” either. We wish we had one of those, as we’d surely find a way to include it in the video.

No archaeological expedition is needed to find your neutral spine

One very technical research article defines it as “ the region of minimal stiffness or maximal compliance of a spinal motion segment,” or “that part of the range of physiological intervertebral motion, measured from the neutral position, within which the spinal motion is produced with a minimal internal resistance.” We think the following definition is the easiest to understand though: “The position of an individual’s spine where every joint is held in an optimal position to allow an equal distribution of force through the entire structure.” In other words, hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. Like porn, but not!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zdPjDO7YIM[/youtube]

 

Kymberly: When you sit, stand, lie down, or move with your vertebrae stacked in natural curvature, you get the benefit of shock absorption and musculoskeletal comfort. So the first thing is to ditch the phrase and goal of “flat” or “straight back.” Dancers might want to achieve that position for a performance. “Why grandma, what a flat back you have. The better to impress you with my dear.”  But we fitness sorts usually want to embrace and hug the curves (in our Shaguar, apparently). That means focusing on the position of the pelvis and moving up the spine from there. The spine gently curves in at the lower back, out at the upper back, then back in again at the neck. If you haven’t watched our video yet, now is the time.

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Photo credits: Creative Commons:  North Charleston (clock), Jos Lippold (bucket)

Readers: What tips or tricks do you use to achieve neutral spine? Or do you need constant reminders?

 

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