This is a term that is thrown around with other vague terms such as core stability and abdominal strengthening. So what does spinal stability mean? In my eyes, spinal stability is the ability of the body to resist external forces on the spine. It is your ability to maintain a neutral spine. A neutral spine is just what it seems, it is a spine that is not in flexion nor extension and does not vary in the frontal plane. The biggest problem that we see is that external forces, force the spine into flexion. I have seen some debate whether or not to train into flexion. My current thought is that we should not for the vast major of patients/clients. In fact out of all athletic endeavors I would have to say that sit ups or sit up like exercises are a large reason that the a lot of people come to see me. Why is this? According to Stuart McGill, he states that the discs in the low back only have so many flexes in them. When we flex the spine we increase the pressure on the disc by 85%. So considering that most of us have jobs that require us to sit in front of a computer for most of the day, we are already loading that disc quite a bit. There is no need to further load that disc by doing sit ups. The key is to strengthen the muscles that surround the spine in an isometric manner. Exercises such as bird dog, side plank and the like work excellent for the injured but what about the athlete without an injury? This comes down to perfect form when performing lifts such as overhead squat, dead-lifts and Romanian dead-lifts.
This post was written by Douglas R. Krebs, DC, FACO, Cert MDT for DrKrebs.com. If it appears on another website without clear attribution, or if it is used for commercial purposes, it has been plagiarized.