The Fundamentals â€“ Bracing (courtesy of CrossFit Invictus)
Written by Mike Hom
rather simple concept is easily forgotten by many people but holds some
astonishing long-term repercussions. Letâ€™s quickly discuss why bracing
is important in a nice, simple flowchart:
So how do you do it?
begin, imagine your entire torso and butt in 360 degrees. You want that
entire column of your body to be just that: a strong, immovable column
that does not bend, does not shift, does nothing but keep your spine
neutral and wedded to your hips. This happy marriage is often
overlooked in the chase for extreme lumbar extension. While we
initially want people who have problems with lumbar flexion to learn
how to obtain a lumbar curve, we also want them to think about their
entire body, and in particular their spine and hips, as one happily
In order to make this happen, do the following:
- Pull your shoulder blades down and back to stand as tall and proud as possible.
and pretend like someone is about to deliver a life-threatening punch
to your gut and you need to brace yourself for this. What you will do
is contract your abs, obliques and a whole slew of muscles that make up
your 360 degree torso as hard as possible. You are doing this because
you are trying to protect your internal organs and
your spine from any irreparable damage caused by this potential trauma.
(To tighten your brace, exhale and squeeze even harder, maintain that
tension and inhale again.)
- You should still be standing tall and proud â€“ locking down your midline stabilizers should not cause your posture to change.
- Squeeze your glutes (your butt) as hard as possible. This helps to keep your spine and hips wedded together.
your knees out to the sides and â€œspread the groundâ€ by trying to kick
your heels away from you as if you were trying to tear a piece of paper
under your feet.
this time, you should notice your whole body is about as tight as it
can possibly get and you should feel like youâ€™re working hard just to
do this. This is the most extreme, dare I say ideal, bracing
you can do. Aim to go through these steps in order to provide yourself
minimum risk and maximum return while training. But beware, mastering
the breathing takes some practice â€“ so PRACTICE! Do it while you are
warming up, going through basic movements, etcâ€¦.
to provide yourself some individual feedback, try to do one air squat
as you normally would. Now perform one air squat with the bracing
process described above. You should feel more â€œintegrated,â€ as if your
entire bodyâ€™s individual body parts are truly working in concert with
everybody who reads this blog will learn to move their body with proper
bracing and allow me to take the quotation marks off the word
â€œintegratedâ€ in the future.
As always, big thanks to K-Star of San Francisco CrosSFit for the inspiration and knowledge to use the aforementioned verbiage!