How to Improve Core Stability Part 2: The Spinal Neutral Test

How-to-Improve-Core-Stability-Part-2-The-Spinal-Neutral-Test
Amelia Phillips

Posted by

Share this article

This is part 1 of a 4 part series on the benefits of improving your core stability, and how you can improve yours.

This is part 2 of a 4 part series on the benefits of improving your core stability, and how you can improve yours.

Ok, so you’ve mastered Part 1, diaphragmatic breathing and you’re ready to progress to the next stage. This stage is all about maintaining spinal neutral while we move. To see how good you are at using your core muscles, try this test. You will need a piece of string tied around your waist. Tie this string along the line of your belly button. Have the tension so when you are relaxed, it gently digs into your belly, but when you draw your belly button in, it becomes loose. If you forced your tummy out, it would get really tight.

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. There should be just enough arch so you can slide your hand under your lower back, but no more. This is spinal neutral. You should feel relaxed here.

Draw your belly button into your spine and gently apply pressure onto your hand. The string around your waist should remain loose. If it gets tight, you have recruited your six pack muscles, rectus abdominus. This is a no-no. Stop, relax and try again. The muscles you are wanting to recruit are located like a corset around your abdomen, the transverse abdominal (tva). You may be able to feel a ridge and inch either side of your belly button.
Try it now, while you are sitting here. Draw your belly button in and feel for that ridge. Don’t worry if you can’t feel it, you soon will! If it’s hidden under a doona of body fat, read my 5 tips for losing body fat.Now you are ready to move. The aim is to remain in this spinal neutral whilst lifting one leg up at a time. Start with your right leg and slowly lift it off the floor. Observe your stomach and lower back. Does it arch, flatten, twist or tilt? Does the string stay loose or get tight. Everything should stay still.

Stage #1: Alternate legs slowly. It’s the transition from side to side where you may feel some instability. Do these transitions slowly and make sure that string stays loose at all times. Remember perfect practice makes perfect. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions. Each leg raise should take about four seconds up and four seconds down.

Stage #2: Both feet off floor, take one foot down slowly to the floor. Only progress to this stage if you have mastered stage #1. This places more pressure on the back and abdominal so make sure you hips don’t tilt and your back doesn’t arch as you lower each leg. Remember to make sure the string stays loose. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions. Each leg lowering should take four seconds down and four seconds up.Remember you can recruit your tva muscles at any time. Sitting at your desk, standing or lying. The better you get at recruiting them, the more effective they will become at stabilizing your spine and reducing the chance of back pain.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

  • firerobin

    Very informative.

    Now, if I could just put down the beer and pizza :(

  • Peter J

    hmm now I realise exactly how bad my core is!

  • Find professional movers

    hey, i always like your topics… keep on posting.

  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Firerobin,

    Yes beer and pizza….not so good for core stability, unless you are able to pop beer tops with your belly button. That’d be impresive. Go for a run, burn off the pizza, then do your abs!

  • Amelia Burton

    Don’t worry Peter,
    Do these exercsies and retest your back in 1 month and I bet you notice the difference.

  • Pingback: Core Stability Part 3: Challenging your core muscles | Amelia Burton - Health and Fitness Coach

  • Pingback: Core Stability Part #1: A remedy for back pain | Amelia Burton - Health and Fitness Coach

  • Pingback: Core Stability Part 4: Functional Exercises -the plank and its wacky variations | Amelia Burton - Health and Fitness Coach

  • Pingback: Core Stability Part 4: Functional Exercises -the plank and its wacky variations | Online Weight Loss

  • Jack

    I find that using PosturePals (on New Inventors a few months ago) provides great feedback and let me know when I am losing the neutral spinal position. They help when doing core work but also doing everyday activities.

  • http://www.ameliaburton.com.au Amelia Burton

    Haven’t heard of them Jack,

    I’ll check them out…

  • Pingback: Nuclear stability part of 4: Function exercises - the plank and its moved changes | My GuestBook Store

  • Pingback: Abdominal Exercises: Exercise Your Oblique Muscles to Get Rid of the Love Handles

  • Pingback: Abdominal Exercises: Exercise Your Oblique Muscles to Get Rid of the Love Handles | Lose Weight Steps

  • eslam kamal

    good post

  • http://www.ameliaburton.com.au Amelia Burton

    Thanks E,

    Lots more where that came from!
    Amelia

  • http://www.abdominalexerciseequipment.tk/ Abdominal Exercise Equipment

    If winter comes , can spring be far behind ?( P. B. Shelley , British poet )

  • http://wine101nc.com/?/member/25456/ hcg for weight loss

    Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images
    aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  • http://darkforz.noticia.es/user/AlvaMacias/history darkforz.noticia.es

    This page certainly has all the information and facts I wanted
    about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  • http://Autorasenred.Noticia.es/user/MoisesRgq/history dental equipment used

    Great goods from you, man. I have consider your stuff previous to and you’re simply too magnificent. I really like what you’ve bought right here, certainly
    like what you’re saying and the way through which you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to stay it sensible. I can’t wait to learn far more from you.

    That is actually a wonderful website.

  • http://www.giyvaojthbqf.org vhtcnyawnoqe

    swffelkmowoq

  • http://www.qospplqiglpk.org qyoishplzsir

    rmfxjmipkudv

  • http://www.jstshwvhhuew.org thanks for making this fbscyekbrp click here O:) wwtftihgbavgfnm, :D rhlyaooypi [url="http://www.lvxcnbanzmkb.net"]or here[/url] :-/ htbaqdljeyco, :-D ejvdvrzgir http://lvxcnbanzmkb.info :|] wwtftihgbavgfnm, =) sadgnypxzl [url=http://lvxcnbanzmkb.ru]ghwyq

    efwviigvzsom

  • http://www.microscope.com/blog/?attachment_id=473 Cambogia Trim Diet

    Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too.
    This kind of clever work and exposure! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.