The debate of a neutral spine vs a mobile spine has been chattering on social media in the fitness industry lately, so I thought I'd take some time to share my input. Neutral spine A neutral spine is how your spine naturally curves in three spots. In most resistance training programs, a neutral spine is encouraged to help build stability throughout your whole body. A neutral spine is especially important when bracing your core for heavier lifts such as deadlifts and squats. Without a neutral spine in these positions, the risk of injury could potentially increase. In addition to heavier lifts, positioning yourself with a neutral spine in other exercises can help improve posture, strength, and stability. Mobile spine A mobile spine is one that can twist, turn, curve, etc., and be mobile in all planes of motion. A mobile spine is what you use in every day movements: opening up your car door and sliding into the drivers seat, wrestling around with your dog on the floor, or pulling something out of the kitchen cabinet. All of these movements require a mobile spine. Could you imagine if we did these movements in a neutral spine? Talk about going robot mode haha. The main differences between a neutral spine and a mobile spine are going to be the setting. If you're at the gym lifting weights, I encourage a neutral spine during your lifts. If you're in a yoga class, you may teeter between a neutral spine and a mobile spine based on the purpose of each pose. If you're at home, you're likely going to be moving with a mobile spine. If you're at home picking up your couch, I encourage you to try to move with a neutral spine. Think: weighted movements: neutral spine, and unweighted movements: mobile spine. Both have their place and both are important. Mobility training will help improve strength with a mobile spine. Mobility training is often done in our warm-ups with dynamic stretching, eccentric movements, full range of motion exercises, and myofascial release.
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