Postural stability and the ability to maintain a neutral spine during activity is a common issue for many clients. Specifically, posterior chain mobility and strength are often limited, leading to poor mechanics and unwanted flexion in the thoracic and lumbar spine. This corrective exercise is an effective way to address this problem.
Execution: While standing upright, with soft knees, position a dowel or PVC pipe behind the head and in line with the spine. One closed hand should be placed around the pipe in the cervical spine, while the other hand is in the small of the back. Maintain constant contact with the back of the head, t-spine and sacrum (between the buttocks) during the exercise.
Next, slowly bend forward at the hips keeping the knees slightly bent, with the weight through the heels while maintaining a neutral spine position. Bend as far forward as possible provided the PVC pipe stays in contact with the aforementioned landmarks and the knees or spine do not begin to flex. Pause at the bottom, and then return to the start position.
Repeat the movement pattern for 10 repetitions. Perform 1-3 sets. This can be done as part of a movement prep routine or even between active lifting sets as a corrective measure.
Progression: advance to a single leg version once form and balance allow as desired
Application: This exercise is an excellent corrective exercise pattern for those with excessive spinal flexion and faulty movement patterns. In addition, it serves as a training tool to improve posterior chain mobility and stability. It is very effective for helping teach proper form for exercises such as standing rows and RDLs, while activating the posterior chain and improving erector spinae strength/postural endurance.