crossfit

The Neutral Spine

Universal Principles of Movement: Part 1
The Neutral Spine

The neutral spine is the position of the spine where the orientation and relationships between the vertebrae are the same as when standing in normal anatomical position.
This position is universal to almost all of our movements. Whether you are at the bottom of a GHD sit up, at the midway point of a max deadlift or at the top of a press you should be in this neutral spine position.
Basically, if we were to take an x-ray of your spine from the side during these movements your vertebrae should be in the same position as if you took this same x-ray when you were standing upright.

Core Strength for a Neutral Spine

The ability to maintain this neutral spine through countless movements under resistance is directly related to core strength. Core strength has very little to do with a persons capacity to do sit-ups. When talking about strength or core stability when are mostly referring to the transverse abdominis, multifidus and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles when activated form the foundation for a neutral spine and optimal posture through fitness movements.

Why do we care if the spine is in neutral position anyway?

Maintaining a neutral spine keeps us in our most powerful position, while decreasing our risk of injury.  Without a neutral spine our discs and joints will be continually put into compromised positions.  This wear and tear overtime is what leads to disc bulge, arthritis and general muscular imbalance.

The Neck is part of the Spine

Don’t forget! Your neck is part of your spine too and should maintain a neutral position whenever possible. We don’t want to have our neck cockeyed looking up at the ceiling when performing squats.

- Jeff Vale