Neutral spine is when the spine is in its most natural position:
- Slight Lordotic (inward curve) at the cervical spine (neck);
- Kyphotic curve at the top of the thoracic( upper back/chest);
- Lordotic curve at the lumbar spine. (lower back); and, finally
- Kyphotic curve at the sacral spine (hips).
The spine is designed this way to help distribute weight and stress throughout the body.
This means that by arching my back when lifting weights, I am taking away the optimal positioning for my natural support system and adding stress by using extra weight.
The spine may be strong enough to handle some of this extra burden, but as we go up in weight or compensate by arching our backs even further, we increase the chance of injury.
So, the next time you are bench pressing and your back arches off the bench, put the weights down, rethink your technique — and lower the weight. Your back will thank me later.