Working Out with a Neutral Spine

Working out with a neutral spine is important to reduce the strain on your bones and joints.

If you’ve ever joined a workout class, met with a personal trainer, or researched proper exercise form, you have probably heard or seen the phrase “neutral spine.” This is because when performing any type of exercise, working out with a neutral spine is key to reducing the strain on your bones and avoiding injury.

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What Exactly is a Neutral Spine?

A neutral spine is simply when all three curves of the spine (neck, chest, and lower back) are in good alignment. In other words, a neutral spine is a good posture from neck to hips.

Although a neutral spine is an optimal position, it can be challenging to achieve. That’s because our bodies adapt to our frequent movements and many of us have poor everyday posture as a result of our daily bad habits. For most of us, that means we must be intentional about finding a neutral spine before exercising.

What are the Benefits of Working out in Neutral Postures?

  • Allows the body to be in the safest, strongest, and most efficient position
  • Places joints in a balanced state with the least strain on muscles and tendons
  • Supports and maintains natural curves of the spine while maintaining alignment

How do You Find Neutral Spine?

When beginning an exercise, make sure the body is in good posture. To find your neutral spine, it is best to focus on one area of the body at a time.

  • Upper Body
    • Keep shoulder blades down and back when raising arms
    • Avoid hyperextending elbows when lifting and lowering weight
    • Keep wrists straight and thumbs up when holding weights
  • Lower Body
    • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
    • Keep knees relaxed with a soft bend
  • Spine
    • Keep ears over shoulders, avoiding forward head posture
    • Always keep abdominal muscles tight throughout the entire motion of the exercise

When working out if you lose form, stop, and put yourself back in a good position. This will train your mind and body to maintain good posture throughout the entire exercise.


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