Health & Wellness Blog

Lifting Faults to Avoid to Prevent Injury and Maximise Performance

In Daniel Liebermans book ‘The story of the Human Body’ he states the chair was the worst invention for the human body.

We are designed to move, not to be stuck at a desk for 8+ hours a day. Without incorporating physical activity into your life all sorts of disease, health, physical and emotional problems become present.

So, first things first – Address Technique and Mobility Restricitions!

Before anything else we need to learn how to set our mid-line – our spine. How to set your mid-line is explained below, and you can also refer to the Function Well Foundations posters around our facility which explain how to do this.

Always remember how well you can move with neutral spine, regardless of how many reps or the load, is what sets you up for a healthy body.

 The quality of the movement over quantity should always be the focus!

 FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS & THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING NEUTRAL SPINE

A functional movement is any movement that causes a wave of contraction from your core to your extremities. Core = CNS/ Spine.

At the end of the day the body’s priority is to protect the spine and every movement in the extremities is generated firstly through the core. So the first thing we need to address and set is the mid-line/neutral spine.

Any deviation of the spine  means decreased force production and increased risk of injury.

The video below is a great example of  decreased force production once the natural spinal arch types are exaggerated. If you have been taught to look up to the roof when you squat or dead lift, you have been taught to lift in a weakened position.

RULE # 1: DO NOT OVER EXAGGERATE THESE CURVES – DON’T “ARCH LOWER BACK”, “ROUND SHOULDERS” OR “HEAD UP OR DOWN”.

This means whatever we are doing in the gym or in everyday life we need to set our mid-line so a good healthy spine position becomes an automatic motor pattern. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in the gym, or if you are lifting a box at home, the kids off the ground or sitting at your desk, we need to be thinking neutral spine.

BRACING SEQUENCE FOR NEUTRAL SPINE

Step 1: Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) hard. This puts your pelvis in a neutral position. A common misconception is that the abdominals stabilise your pelvis, however it is actually the glutes that do this, which is why you must squeeze the glutes.

Step 2: Set your ribs. Pull your sternum and belly button together (lower ribs in), placing your ribs over your pelvis. This sets your abdominals and back muscles.

Step 3: Pull your belly in tight. This locks your ribs and pelvis in place by the abdominals. Take a deep breath in, exhale and pull your belly button to your spine to create intra-abdominal pressure around your spine.

Remember your glutes set the position your abs brace the position.

Step 4: Keep your head neutral & stabilise the shoulders. Centre your head over your shoulders, pull your shoulders back and spread your collarbones.

Step 5: Create Torque. This creates stability. If there is no torque there will be instability; ankles and knees will collapse inward, hips wobble, spine will bend and shoulders will round into an unstable position. Mid-line stabilisation and torque are 2 parts of a unifying system that work in conjunction with each other -You can’t have one without the other.

LIFTING FAULTS TO AVOID:

  • Rounded back
  • Forward shoulders
  • Lumbar (lower back) over-extension
  • Feet turned out
  • Head position up or down
  • Elbows winging out

Click here to read Factors to Increase Performance & Decrease Injury

The principles in this article is from my Mobility Trainer Certification with Dr. Kelly Starrett in Denver Colorado. He has a great website (www.mobilitywod.com) and a great book “Becoming a Supple Leopard” for further reading.

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