Some of you may have heard one or more of us coaches talk about keeping your midline stable. What does that even mean though? Your midline is your entire spine. So when we talk about midline stability we are really referring to the capacity to maintain a neutral spine under load through full range of motion.
A lot goes in to each and every movement we do in the gym. Why wouldn’t we want to prepare our bodies in every way possible to not only perform the movement safely but maybe add some extra weight and do it again!
Checklist for a stable midline:
Activation of Your Diaphragm
Take a deep breath and hold it in your gut not your chest. Your stomach should tighten and not expand. If it expands you aren’t really adding any extra support
Keep a Neutral Spine
- You shouldn’t be arching your back either way. A quick tip is to pull your belly button towards your spine. Your spine will automatically shift to a more neutral position when you do.
Activate the Glutes
- Activating the glutes plays a crucial role of getting your midline prepared. So right before the lift or movement, squeeze your butt to activate the glutes.
There are times when mobility is going to be an issue. Never reach full range of motion (example: squatting below parallel) by endangering your midline stability. If reaching full range of motion is a struggle there are tons of exercises we can do to help achieve a neutral spine in full range of motion. There is not a cure all movement that can do this. We first need to identify why the stability is collapsing whether it be ankle, hip, shoulder, etc. Once we identify the problem area(s) we can work on mobility that then let’s our body perform like it was supposed to.
So the next time you’re in the gym or even at home or work try the checklist and make a mental note how it feels and try to remember to do that during our WODs. Having a stable midline is essential for preventing injury.
I hope this gives each of you something you can add in to your workouts.