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Old 02-23-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
Preston Sprimont
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midline stability

I have a question about midline stability and the core muscles that should be engaged when lifting--specifically squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching.

Obviously you want everything in the abdominals and back to be tight and braced for the load, but I've heard a couple of different "cues" as to how to brace properly. I've heard two largely conflicting ideas for bracing the lower core: 1) push the abs out and get the low back tight; and 2) bring the abdominals in (bellybutton to spine) and then get the low back tight.

So, better to bring the abs in or push the abs out?

I'm still a linearly progressing beginner, so I haven't really found my niche in the squat form that feels just right to me... thus this question.

Hopefully I'm not overthinking this.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:46 AM   #2
Nalin Prabhu
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Re: midline stability

Personally, I've never heard anyone cue the lifter to suck their gut in.

It's always been take a DEEP breath and hold it.
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:47 AM   #3
Ben Moore
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Re: midline stability

Louie Simmons supports pushing the abs out (typically against a belt in his case).
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:22 PM   #4
Steven Low
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Re: midline stability

Big breath to depress the diaphragm. This shrinks/tightens the intraabdominal space.

Then you want to basically contract your muscles against this outward force which tightens the abs/obliques/TVA and starts tightening the fascia in the lumbar spine. Some say pull belly button to spine... eh, Idon't like that analogy that much. Your body should really automatically do this anyway just focus on proper technique.

Tightening of the thoracolumbar fascia helps to squeeze the multifidus and other paraspinal muscles thus increasing the contraction strength of the back muscles keeping the back rigid.

This allows you to lift the weight safely without rounding and risking herniating a disc or straining a muscle


I have no problems with belts but if they are overused they teach incorrect core bracing mechanics and thus I would only use them if you are trying to max out...... or be a competitive powerlifter.
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Last edited by Steven Low; 02-23-2011 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:32 PM   #5
Mike Mallory
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Re: midline stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
I have no problems with belts but if they are overused they teach incorrect core bracing mechanics and thus I would only use them if you are trying to max out...... or be a competitive powerlifter.
^ In with this.

Steven I DO cue pulling in with clients, because I've never found someone to naturally do it (keeping in mind also that most people come to me with pain), and you can make sure that athletes aren't overpowering their deep abdominals with the rectus or the diapghram.......
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
Preston Sprimont
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Re: midline stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Big breath to depress the diaphragm. This shrinks/tightens the intraabdominal space.

Then you want to basically contract your muscles against this outward force which tightens the abs/obliques/TVA and starts tightening the fascia in the lumbar spine. Some say pull belly button to spine... eh, Idon't like that analogy that much. Your body should really automatically do this anyway just focus on proper technique.

Tightening of the thoracolumbar fascia helps to squeeze the multifidus and other paraspinal muscles thus increasing the contraction strength of the back muscles keeping the back rigid.
I have a rather limited understanding of anatomy and physiology, so I go mostly off of cues geared toward the layman's understanding... but I do see and feel a difference depending upon which cue I go off of...
Bellybutton to spine, my lumbar and thoracic spine has less of an arc (but not rounded), but I feel that it's a little harder to focus on tightening my lower back muscles.
With pushing the abs out, it feels a bit easier to tighten my lower back, but I also look like I might be bordering on hyperextension (too much arc in the lumbar/thoracic area).

I know this is probably something difficult to address over the internets. I'm just fishing for what exactly proper technique is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
This allows you to lift the weight safely without rounding and risking herniating a disc or straining a muscle
That's what I'm hoping to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
I have no problems with belts but if they are overused they teach incorrect core bracing mechanics and thus I would only use them if you are trying to max out...... or be a competitive powerlifter.
I don't use a belt, so I'm looking for the proper cues for someone going without something external to "brace" the abs against...

That being said, if you had to cue a beginner to get his not-naturally-in-good-form-body to have good form and midline stability, what cues would you give?

Thank you very much. Appreciate the responses!

Last edited by Preston Sprimont; 02-23-2011 at 02:42 PM..
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
Preston Sprimont
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Re: midline stability

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Originally Posted by Mike Mallory View Post
^ In with this.

Steven I DO cue pulling in with clients, because I've never found someone to naturally do it (keeping in mind also that most people come to me with pain), and you can make sure that athletes aren't overpowering their deep abdominals with the rectus or the diapghram.......
What would overpowering the deep abdominals with the rectus or diaphragm look like? I think that in the past I've taken the "push the abs out" cue a bit too far and perhaps done exactly that (just a naive guess though...). In which case maybe I should be conscious of bringing the gut in more?

Thank you!
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
Mike Mallory
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Re: midline stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston Sprimont View Post
I have a rather limited understanding of anatomy and physiology, so I go mostly off of cues geared toward the layman's understanding... but I do see and feel a difference depending upon which cue I go off of...
Bellybutton to spine, my lumbar and thoracic spine has less of an arc (but not rounded), but I feel that it's a little harder to focus on tightening my lower back muscles.
With pushing the abs out, it feels a bit easier to tighten my lower back, but I also look like I might be bordering on hyperextension (too much arc in the lumbar/thoracic area).
with the belly-button to spine cue, you should create some lift in the ribcage.....

The bracing technique feels like its tensions the low back more because it DOES in the sagittal plane. But if your overflexing your rectus abdominus (six pack) your taking valuable energy from its antagonist, the erectors.....which you need to lift the weight!
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:26 PM   #9
Joshua Gritton
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Re: midline stability

Tell them to breath DEEP into their chest. Kinda like they are puffing it out without the back bend to do so.
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Old 02-23-2011, 04:28 PM   #10
Terry Gibbs
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Re: midline stability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston Sprimont View Post

I have a question about midline stability and the core muscles that should be engaged when lifting--specifically squatting, deadlifting, cleaning, snatching.

Obviously you want everything in the abdominals and back to be tight and braced for the load, but I've heard a couple of different "cues" as to how to brace properly. I've heard two largely conflicting ideas for bracing the lower core: 1) push the abs out and get the low back tight; and 2) bring the abdominals in (bellybutton to spine) and then get the low back tight.

So, better to bring the abs in or push the abs out?

hmmmm that's a hard one...

now let's think... who tells us to breath deep and push against belt ...big hairy PLer who squats and dead lots of weight ....

now who tells us to pull in our belly button to the back of our spine ....tall skinny personal trainer with 10 years experience playing soccer and coaching middle aged women ....


you are right.... that is a hard one....
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