Neutral Spine Or Pervert Hips? Neutral Is NOT Straight!
Let’s chat quick about neutral spine. Neutral is the natural position of the spine when we’re not actively flexing or extending any segment. This is NOT straight—a neutral spine is curved.
The lumbar spine curves in one direction, the thoracic spine in the other, and the cervical spine back again like the lumbar.
It seems increasingly common to see advice to straighten the lumbar spine to achieve what’s mistakenly being called neutrality, with athletes tucking the pelvis under into the position I call, for what should be obvious reasons, Pervert Hips.
Neutral curvature distributes pressure evenly across the surfaces of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Straightening the spine with Pervert Hips shifts more compressive force toward one side of the vertebrae and discs, increasing injury risk.
If we’re dealing primarily with compressive forces like in the jerk, push press, press and to a lesser extent squats, neutral is a good position—Pervert Hips is a big mistake.
Some athletes do have excessive lumbar extension, and this can be reduced with ab and glute tension to achieve neutral. But don’t overcorrect—you’ll end up in a position with more injury potential.
The abs are important. The glutes are important. But the back extensors are equally important, and all trunk musculature needs to work together from all directions to stabilize the spine.