In Medical/Injuries, Videos

August 22, 2010

Video Article

Kelly Starrett has a real knack for taking important principles of CrossFit like midline stability and putting them into real-world anecdotal scenarios for groups of trainees. This time around at CrossFit Santa Cruz, Starrett is doing just that: explaining midline stability by turning your body into a series of levers.

His main point is that many athletes get into the start position for a rep and then try to stabilize their midline. This may not be possible in every situation. For example, attempting to set your core under a 1RM squat load might prove impossible, and the resulting squat might have less-than-optimal positioning.

Starrett shows how you can brace yourself into a great position before you address a load, which will help you maintain that position throughout the lift.

11min 23sec

Additional reading: Your Form Sucks by Dr. John Zimmer, published May 22, 2010.

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36 Comments on “Better Bracing for Midline Stability”


wrote …

What a masterful way to break down such a complex topic as midline stability under heavy loads to the average person. K star always makes things so simple when he's done you say "why didn't I think of that, it's so easy".


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WOW! That is awesome!


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These videos alone are worth far more than the subscription price.


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Fantastic video! Love all the info and science you give, but in a simple way. I can see now that my bracing is wrong before my lifts. Hopefullt this will become second nature and PR's will come!

Thanks and keep them coming.


wrote …

Love it! Newbie here, so thanks for helping to save my back!!


Dude, that shit makes sense!


wrote …

Love it. His stuff is worth its weight in gold!


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It is something that this video was posted today. I was pointing out the same thing to a female athlete at my box on Thursday when she was doing overhead squats. It seemed to me that the overextension of the spine was also causing some major range of motion issues in getting to the depth of the squat. Do you think that is a byproduct of overextension?


wrote …

KStar, wild alaskan salmon, and coffee were a great combo tonight. Keep em comin' Kelly, we need you in our lives!!!


wrote …

WOW...great topic, I am over extended, any thoughts out there to help me get right that would be GREAT!


wrote …

check out kstar's new addition: just awesome!


wrote …

Great video as always, worth more then gold. quick question regarding breathing during lets say a 5x5, what is recomended in order not to lose the tightness.


Michael Schaal wrote …

"Fire the Cobra hood!" Love it.


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Very good video.


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Excellent video! I can't wait to start applying this to my strength training.


Dane Thomas wrote …

Great point about how the two-hand rule can help us visualize and understand changes in trunk positioning during movement.

Another way to do this that includes the head and neck is to hold a dowel, pvc pipe or foam roller lengthwise along the back so that in a neutral spine position it contacts the body at the sacrum, at the thoracic spine between the shoulder blades and at the back of the head. Once you get the feeling for the placement as well as the amount of pressure from the dowel/pipe/roller it becomes very easy to notice changes in trunk and head positioning.

I start people out with this in standing, showing them how moving into flexion or hyperextension changes the way that it feels. I then have them try to hold neutral positioning down into an airsquat, stopping them if they reach a depth where tight hamstrings forces rounding of the lower spine.

This is a quick and easy way to provide a direct tactile verification of spinal positioning and midline stability during standing, airsquats, deadlifts, front squats and overhead squats that does not require skill-intensive interpretation and communication from the coach and understanding of verbal cues by the athlete. Building a solid awareness of the midline stability that we strive to maintain in all of those lifts makes it easier to apply the same concepts in more dynamic movements such as kettlebell swings, wallball work, cleans, thrusters, squat snatches and so on.


wrote …

A revelation. Thank you.


wrote …

My guys did all this stuff at session tonight. It works. Thanks


wrote …

Kelly great ways of upping the anti so you will be faster, stronger, and lift more. Making everyone more aware of the details of performance that make a huge difference once you are more organized, and can use more energy to achieve the task at hand. There are very few with his knowledge base, and the ability of delivering meaningful and insightful thoughts and solutions. His ability to see solutions to fix problems is unmatched.


wrote …

K Starr Is the Man! Love everything you do man! Keep up the good work.


Austin @Unlimited wrote …

Great information delivered so clear and precise!

All I want for Christmas is Kelly to come to my gym for a mini seminar:)


wrote …

Maybe I haven't interpreted other info on CF HQ website, but, I thought having slight spinal extension was what we wanted...

"Keep you lumber curve" Is a phrase I have heard many times.

From what I understand of this vid a "Neutral spine" seems to be what's described.

I feel more confused about the spine now - anybody help clarify?


wrote …

Every KStar video is such a huge "force multiplier"! It'd be great if we could track the wave of PR's across the globe after each one.

Curious if you've got any thoughts on Active Release Therapy. Picked up significant mobility and a much better front squat rack position after a few sessions working neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Told the guy, "you just gave me 10 pounds in my front squat." I'll find out in two weeks when I cycle through, but now, with this knowledge, I think I might be looking at more like 15-20!


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Normal neutral spine position is a very gentle S-curve, with the neck (cervical) and low back (lumbar) curves being concave towards the back (lordosis) and the mid-back (thoracic) curve being the opposite (kyphosis). In standing all three curves are roughly aligned in the vertical axis. As we lean forward to begin a DL pull the entire structure tilts forward, but the curves should remain curved as well as retaining their relative alignment with each other.

A typical problem for those with tight hamstrings and/or limited trunk stability awareness is that the low back tends to flatten out and lost the curve as hip flexion increases. The verbal cue to "Keep your lumbar curve" could perhaps more accurately be expressed as "Don't lose the lumbar curve that is a normal component of a neutral spine position", but that takes way too long to say.


wrote …

Wow, Great Vid! I cannot wait to attend his certification in November. Really knows how to get some great points across.


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Kelly - Reminds me of the Einstein quote: Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. Probably a hundred ways that lean, succinct lesson in biomechanics and neuromuscular control could have been puffed up and scrambled to obfuscate viewers. Skilled, tidy and pragmatic explanation. Well done, Dr. SuperCoach.


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I have to copy Comment #3: "These videos alone are worth far more than the subscription price." CFJ Rules!!!

I knew I'd been missing something lately on my lifts, I'm pretty sure this is it.

Dane Thomas, thanks for the additional cues and "lumbar curve" clarification.


wrote …

I love this guy- I always learn something new and incredibly useful that no one else I know of would have taught me, and he's funny to boot. Don't ever stop with these.


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pure gold


wrote …

Great video! Bracing is still getting belly button to spine right?


wrote …

Great info.... something I need to work


replied to comment from Peter Evans

In a neutral lumbar spine there is a loridotic curve. In the vid. Kelly correctly states that we should move from a flat dog poop position to a curved neutral position against the tension of the Core. The other component that comes into play is the inter abdominal pressure that is created with core stiffening which will help to resist the shear force on the lumbar discs. Hope that helps


wrote …

more priceless info from the man. many thanx.


Francois Raymond wrote …

"The best coach in the world."

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