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The Skinny On: Neutral Spine

We all want to have some neutral shoes and neutral pants in our wardrobes. But what about a neutral spine? If you have heard an instructor use the term neutral spine in a fitness class, but didn't have a chance to clarify its meaning - I'm here to give you the skinny on it.

Neutral spine means maintaining the natural curves of your spine. If you are lying on your back, the lowest 5 vertebrae should NOT be smashed into the ground but making a slight curve away from the floor. Your rib cage does rest on the floor. The neck mirrors your lower back and pulls away from the floor, while your skull rests heavily on the ground.

When lying on your back, a simple way to check if you are indeed in neutral is to make sure your ASIS (that's what folks commonly call their "hip bone") is in the same line as your pubic bone. Place the bottom of your palms on the ASIS and your middle fingers on your pubic bone. They should make a plane parallel to the floor. To see a spine way past neutral

This spine is way past neutral - the ribs are away from the ground and more than the 5 lower back vertebrae are off the floor.

Why we like it: Working in neutral spine is the best way to work your core since the back muscles are working in tandem with your abs.

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yogachick yogachick 9 years
The phrasing on the posting "Why we like it" is immediately after the picture of the woman with the spine out of neutral and, unless read carefully, gives the impression that the "way past neutral" is what is desireable. A lot of women walk around with a spine that is "way past neutral". It sticks the butt out and mimics the look of a little child, so some people think it looks cute. It makes me think, however, "that has got to be sooo bad for the lower back." Remember your grandmother's lecture, butt in, shoulders back and down, chin up! Look the world in the eyes.
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