LITHE GOAL OF THE WEEK! 20 May 2013
This week, make it your goal to find (and know) your neutral! If you're not sure, or if you're even a little bit confused, ask an instructor or get your hot buns back into a Lithe 101.
We're all about muscle balance at Lithe. Lithe will do amazing things to your body, but if your form is all wrong, you're not going to get anything good out of the workout.
Does your back hurt? I can see why. Recently, I've been stopping just about every class at the barre and the bands to re-explain neutral spine placement. Please don't over-tip the martini, ladies! If you're Lithing properly, you're only tucking in a few positions throughout our workouts. Even then, you want to tuck properly by taking your imprint further by squeezing your glutes, rather than lengthening out your lower back and jacking your hips to your ribs (via your lumbar muscles). You want to work (mostly) in neutral and imprint when you Lithe. Over time, over-tucking will land your buns right into Physical Therapy. Why? Because over-tucking lengthens the lumbar muscles and creates muscular imbalances.
Understanding how to find your neutral spine position is a fundamental part of Lithing correctly - whether you are at the bands, barre or on the mat. "Neutral spine" refers to the position of your spine when it is naturally curved throughout the neck (cervical), middle (thoracic), and lower (lumbar) spinal regions - Just like it is when you are standing. When these three curves are naturally aligned, your spine is in its strongest position, whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down.
To work in neutral, do not flatten/press your back into the mat, round out the lower back during lunges, squats, or grip the glutes and hip-flexors while thrusting your pelvis forward during wide second. Instead, keep the natural curves of your back present throughout the workout, while contracting your abs and squeezing your glutes. This works the back muscles and the abdominal muscles simultaneously, which strengthens your entire core. You can maintain neutral spine position in exercises performed on your back, but also in those requiring you to stand, sit, or be on your hands and knees.Wanna practice? You can even work on finding neutral (AKA balancing the martini) throughout the day. Whether you're waiting in line, sitting at your desk or lying down. Maintaining a neutral spine can help prevent any back pain caused by misalignment and will really power up your Lithe practice!
Image of Lithe Instructors Nicole Sewall, Bari Rosenthal & Amy Larkin via Dom