Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Articulating Spine: A Skill to Improve Your Performance

This exercise is a gentle warm-up for the spine and abdominal muscles. It also works the lower body and helps coordinate breath and movement.

Steps for Articulating Spine:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Align feet, ankles, and knees.
  2. Spine should be in neutral with the natural curves of the spine present.
  3. Begin diaphragmatic breathing.
  4. Inhale and on the next exhale, begin to tilt pelvis posteriorly by engaging the abdominal muscles and pulling your bellybutton down toward your spine. Let that action continue so that the abs press the lower spine into the floor. Press down through your feet allowing the tailbone to begin to curl up toward the ceiling. The hips raise, as each part of your spine lifts off the floor beginning with the sacrum, through the lumbar and to the thoracic area lifting no higher than the inferior angles of the scapulas.
  5. Maintain a straight line from your hips to your shoulders. Do not arch beyond this point. Support this movement with by contracting the abdominals, glutes, hamstrings, adductors and quadriceps.
  6. Inhale.
  7. Exhale. As you let your breath go, use abdominal control to roll the spine back down to the floor, one vertebrae at a time.
  8. Inhale as you release to neutral spine. Prepare to repeat the exercise by initiating the pelvic tilt on the exhale.
  9. Perform 3-5 repetitions of this exercise.

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