Press-Republican

Columns

November 26, 2013

Stay in line with your spine

Our spine takes part in just about everything we do.

It is literally the back of our core and is partly responsible for keeping us upright for our entire lives.

Our core muscles surrounding the spine play a role in keeping this structure soundly in place with minimal damage. When we pick something up, it is nearly impossible to avoid loading the spin in some way.

This is why spinal awareness is one of the most important things to practice when lifting any kind of weight.

You can think of your spine as a roll of pennies. As we all know, a roll of pennies is very strong when a force is applied downward on it compacting the pennies together.

This is similar to loading your back when you squat and keeping your disks flat against one another when completing the lift. Now, if I were to bend this roll of pennies, the force that can be applied downward to it is much less. Doing so could possibly rip the paper covering, breaking the roll.

This is the kind of action that is happening if you bend your back when lifting any sort of weight. Your spine needs to transfer the weight lifted into the hips.

If bent, the spine itself will take the bulk of the stress. This can easily result in a bulging or ruptured disk.

Whether you are a newbie in the gym or you are an experienced athlete, strength training is an excellent way to keep your spine healthy.

Strength-training exercises called structural exercises are those that load the spine directly. What this means is, by either holding a weight in your hands or placing the weight near your shoulders, the forces from the weight are supported by the spine and transferred to the hips and legs.

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