Why a Neutral Spine?


Neutral Spine

In BarreAmped, we believe in maintaining the natural curves of the spine, as opposed to the traditional “barre tuck,” in order to protect the integrity of the body’s alignment and facilitate circulation through the numerous nerve endings along the spine.

We believe this is the optimal positioning for the body while sitting, standing, walking, and exercising. It is important to maintain this neutral alignment from the cervical spine (neck) all the way down through the lumbar spine (low back) and tailbone.

Understanding and becoming aware of what “neutral” is and feels like can help clients improve their posture in daily life.

What’s wrong with “the tuck”?
The tucked pelvis (also known as “the tuck”) is an outdated way in which to hold the lower body while exercising, standing, or sitting. Driving the hips under – with or without engaged gluteal muscles – will compress the anterior (front) spine, grip the abdominal muscles (which inhibits breathing and puts stress on the nervous system), create instability in the pelvic floor, and can potentially lead to aggravation and inflammation in the low back, sacrum, and hips.

The tuck encourages static flexion of the spine which can translate to bad posture in daily life. Spending too much time in held spinal flexion puts unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae and discs of the spine.

If you are standing or sitting, your tailbone should be in a neutral position (“untucked”) and behind you. While you should not over-arch your low back, you also should not tuck your hips under and make your low back straight or rounded. There should be a natural curve in the low back.

Do we ever “work the abs” in BarreAmped?
Yes, we do. In BarreAmped our goal is to tone and strengthen all abdominal muscles (deep & superficial) for overall core strength and stability. We teach clients to connect to their deeper abdominals and stabilizing muscles in a neutral, more functional, position. We also use focused abdominal mat work to limit the amount of time in flexion of the spine verses staying in the unnatural abdominal curl, or tucked, position throughout the class. We follow any spinal flexion with extension of the spine for a balanced approach to core work. We do not believe in overworking the abdominal wall as many techniques and fitness regimens overemphasize “the abs” by tucking.

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