Midline Stabilization Part 2

By Kelly Starrett

In ExPhysiology, Videos

December 30, 2008

Video Article

Midline stabilization is essential for effective functional movement. Kelly Starrett, of San Francisco CrossFit, explains the essential anatomy and physiology of it in this excerpt from his one day seminar at CrossFit Santa Cruz on November 9, 2008.

The midline is the entire spine, and its stability is dependent not just on the core, but also on all the prime movers of the body, including the hip, glutes, and hamstrings. Excessive tightness in any of the prime movers will affect the core muscles, often resulting in low back pain.

In this part 2, Kelly explains, and has the participants practice, a set of drills that illustrate the difference between primary stabilizers and emergency stabilizers. As he explains at the end, these drills are not designed for strengthening the muscles. For that, we use functional movement such as the squat, deadlift, and overhead work.

This is the second of a series from Kelly on the theory and practice of stabilizing the midline in functional movement.

5min 49sec

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7 Comments on “Midline Stabilization Part 2”


wrote …

It's amazing how much can be learned by watching these videos. I hope to meet Coach Glassman and personally thank him for what he has given to all of us, especially the law enforcement community.


Gerard Mcauliffe wrote …

Do i keep my lumbar spine in extension and keep my sternum 'up' while holding midline stability when pressing overhead?


wrote …

I am guessing from what he says in the video we should pretty much be doing belly button to spine on all movements including sit ups, deadlifts, squats etc...?


replied to comment from Gerard Mcauliffe

Absolutely. We want our athletes to pre-position/set-up actively. Problems result when our we fail to achieve active lumbar extension/positioning and with what Nicole Carrol calls 360 degrees of trunk/hoop tension. Just be sure to keep the bottom of your rib cage anchored down. The univeral fault here is significant back hinging that occurs at the thoracic/lubar junction. Keep that belly rock hard, sternum up, and tight PRE-positioned low back. Getting pulled into a poor force generating position as demonstrated in the video example above is the fastest way to add time to your wods, decrease strength and power output, and pre-dispose yourself to back silliness.

Except for hollow rocking, I'm not really concerned with being able to have good stabilization while on your back. I really only care that our athletes can demonstrate this pre-active stability concept while standing up and moving. The active straight leg raise just easily illustrates the case.



replied to comment from Joey Shannon

We should always be working to improve mid-line stability with enough trunk tension for the task. Rounding or over-extending the low back in the deadlift for example is a failure to keep spine neutral. Use whatever cue you need to achieve trunk stability. Our gym uses belly button to spine to achieve this.



wrote …

Hey Kelly,
Thanks so much for this series, it has been very informative. My wife has diastasis after the birth of our second child. She is an avid x-fitter and has problems with midline stabilization. Have you had any experience working with this in your practice? It seems that the type of core control demonstrated in the video would surely help.
Paul and Dawn


Gerard Mcauliffe wrote …

Thanks Kelly, very informative.

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