Neutral and Imprinted Spine

Hi everyone!!

I’ve had a couple of questions about back positions when you are completing an exercise lying on the floor, which made me think it would be beneficial for all if I post out a quick explanation for all to read.  If you are unsure of how it should feel or if you have ever experienced discomfort after floor exercises (particularly core exercises) then please read on…

It is crucial to get your back positioning correct when completing exercises, as failure to do so can lead to an ineffective exercise which can leave pain and discomfort.  The strength of your core can also determine how stable your spine is.  For this reason, I beg you to never EVER look at what other people are doing, and just focus on exercising to the level your body is comfortable with.  It is important to respect your body and that includes its limits.

I am going to explain 2 back positions to you – neutral spine and imprinted spine – and how/when each position should be used.  If you stick to these rules, you should be able to complete effective floor exercises.


Neutral Spine

Lie on your back, with your feet flat on the floor, knees pointing to the sky.  Hands on hips, tilt your hips as far forwards as possible, then as far backwards as possible.  Continue to do so but with each hip swing lose some momentum so you should gradually find a middle point between both extremities.  This, my friend, is a neutral spine position.

You should strive to maintain neutral spine when completing any exercises where at least one foot stays in contact with the ground.  Your lower back may not fully be in contact with the floor – this is fine.  A very small window should be present – you should be able to put 2 fingers max between your lower back and the floor.


Imprinted Spine

Lie on your back, with your feet flat on the floor, knees pointing to the sky.  From here, push your lower back into the ground so that you should feel your whole back in contact with the floor.  Imagine you are lying in the sand, and when you get up you want to see the whole imprint of your back in the sand.  This is imprinted spine.

Once you have safely found your imprinted spine, you can then lift your feet off the floor as this is where you must use this position.  It is crucial that if at any point you lose your imprinted spine, bring your feet back down.  This is particularly important during exercises where the aim is to have your feet millimetres away from the floor – if your back is lifting then don’t take your legs so low.  Again, remember not to look at what anyone else is doing, and just listen to your body.  Let’s face it; it’s a complete waste of time to do these exercises with incorrect technique.  Just take your body to its own limit, focus on your technique, and in time as you start to feel the benefits you will be able to push your body further.

If you have any questions or if you want some 1:1 help with finding either spine positions then please come and talk to me.  I will always have a few minutes for you (and I love talking about this stuff!!).  Remember your spine is extremely important, and we want it to be as mobile as possible for as long as possible.  Don’t slip into bad habits – take the time to correct yourself!!

Thanks for reading!!  Katrina 🙂  xx

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