Often you will hear me say “tighten your core” or “tuck your butt under”. That’s my version of BRACING. It all means the same thing: aligning your spine and the rest of your body so that you can create a strong foundation from which to move. Below are step by step instructions on how to brace your spine. At first it will take much practice and repetition, but over time the movement will become effortless and natural. From this point forward, I will do my best to use “brace your spine” as my cue to tighten up! I promise that you will feel a difference in your movements if you practice it correctly. Here’s how it works:
STEP 1: FEET: Position your feet directly under your hips and parallel to each other. Externally rotate from your hips by screwing your feet into the ground – keeping your feet where they are, but applying pressure through your toes and outsides of your feet without moving them.
STEP 2: BUTT: Set your pelvis in a neutral position by squeezing your butt. Squeeze your glutes tight then loosen up so you’re not at max squeeze.
STEP 3: SPINE: Lock your pelvis and rib cage in place by using your abs. You do this by inhaling through your diaphragm so that your belly fills with air when you inhale.
STEP 4: CORE: As you exhale, balance your rib cage over your pelvis and tighten your belly, stiffening it as you exhale. You do this by engaging your abs as you exhale and push the air out of your belly.
STEP 5: SHOULDERS: Externally rotate your shoulders and turn your palms to the sky (like we do for bicep curls). As you do this, center your head over your shoulders, looking straight ahead. Align your ears over your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
FINISH: HEAD: Let your arms fall to your sides, keeping your thumbs pointed forward and your shoulders externally rotated. The goal is to align your ears over your shoulders, your ribcage over your pelvis, and your hips over your knees and ankles.
This is a lot to take in all at once, but once you get the hang of it, your body will be more stable and functional, which will allow you to do more with ease. Watch this video for a step by step on how to brace your spine.