Assess yourself 2

Assessment #2
Lots of athletes have trouble feeling their normal curvature of the spine and how to keep it “neutral” when lifting. We follow the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine to not (side-)bend, rotate or extend from the neutral position when moving energetically (high speed/power) or heavily loaded. Provocative movements of the spine can only be done safely in a slow, medium-lightly loaded and controlled way.

Some sports demand heavely loaded or fast movements and, of course, strength sports athletes (in powerlifting, strongmen, weighlifters) have to lift. Some of them think they are built indestructible, but reality checks will come after their heroic efforts and/or career. They have different goals than most of us and we believe it’s only worth the risk if you are competing internationally and at least have a real change to put your landmarks with (inter)national records or prices. While we fully respect them, in the current course we don’t aim for copy-pasting techniques that aim to lift as heavy as possible at every cost.
Assess yourself by aligning a broom stick along your back – simultaneously touching the back of the head, upper back and sacrum (kyphosis). You can feel spaces in your neck and lower back (lordosis).
Now try to keep you trunk vertical, and keep the spaces and contact points fixed, then squat down. Try to feel how you have to keep your chest up and to create enough space between the feet to allow your hips to stay close to your ankles.
The depth you can reach while controling your spine is our advice to use as reference for any of the squatting movements (front, back, overhead), as well as to safely catch and rack the dynamic Olympic lifts. Many athletes will find this difficult in the beginning.
It helps to wear shoes with higher heels – sorry we didn’t mention “high heels”.
If you struggle with this, it can probably help to search the internet for exercises using tags like “postural corrective exercises”, “core stability”, “ankle mobility” or whatever you think can help you. We di advise to assess yourself first, work a little bit with the kind of exercises and then re-assess. If you feel it helps, you’re on the right track! But dont’t force it and yourself – tissue needs time to adapt – it might take at least 6 weeks to 6 months – be consistent and patient.