What is neutral spine?
Neutral spine refers to the natural position of the spine when all three curves of the spine are in proper alignment. Those three curvatures are cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower). When we are in neutral position, this puts our spine in the strongest position not only for Pilates classes and reformer workouts, but for when we stand, sit or move. This is the position from which our bodies work at their very best.
The area of our body that absorbs the most shock and carries most of our weight is the pelvis. When our spine is regularly out of neutral position, this can result in bad posture and painful injuries that may recur. Some examples of when you’re not in neutral position include when you sit in a slumped position, when you pick something up or carry it in improper form, or perform repetitive motions on one side, which can happen in certain sports such as tennis or golf. However, there are a multitude of everyday activities that can cause our bodies to go out of alignment and cause painful injuries—we have students come in to our Pilates studio all the time who need rehabilitation from an injury caused by improper spinal alignment.
Always aim for a neutral spine during exercise, whether you’re doing gymnastics classes, resistance training or reformer Pilates workouts. When you work out, think about lengthening your body through the spine, working your deep core muscles to stand upright and using the upper back muscles to keep the shoulders back and down. To achieve a strong body that’s free of pain and functions efficiently, you should strive for this position in every aspect of daily life, from sitting at your desk at work to lounging around at home.
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