When instructing exercise we encourage and emphasize maintaining good posture. We also refer to “crown to coccyx” alignment as one of the “Seven Key Components of Structure”.
Although maintaining proper posture may sound simple, it is not necessarily easy and I have found that many find it very challenging. It is the goal of this email to emphasize why it is important.
First, let’s clarify what we mean by proper structure or crown to coccyx alignment. If we were to look at a healthy spine as a whole, it would have the shape of a “S”. There should be a curvature at both the cervical and lumbar spine areas. When we encourage you to maintain a neutral spine during exercise, we are referring to the fact that we want you to maintain this ‘S”shape during the exercise. If you have “good posture,” this would also mean while standing that you would have a vertical line that would trace perpendicular to the floor through your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. We actually can evaluate your standing posture as part of our Fit3D scan.
It is this neutral spine position that we wish to maintain for most of our strength training exercises. The exception would be when we are flexing or extending the spine,as in the case of a hollow body position, back extension, or neck flexion or extension exercise.
There are two main reasons for maintaining alignment.
1. Safety– the spine consists of a series of joints or vertebrae with a disc between each. If the spine is loaded, we want that load to be evenly distributed. Excessive loading either through forward flexion or extension can lead to excessive compression of the disc which can lead to an acute rupture or eventual rupture or disc herniation over time.
2. Performance– there are many nerves coming out of the spine and improper posture can actually decrease the neural output and therefore reduce the muscular output as a result.
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