Intrepid's Original Dynamic Duo: Stephanie & Mike

In a recent CrossFit Journal video, Kelly Starrett explains how to best to brace to keep one’s midline stability.  K-Star has a knack for breaking down complex topics for us simple folk so please check out the video for his demos and cues.  Ruth has previously posted on the importance of breathing but K-Star goes a little more in depth.  I highly recommend subscribing to the CrossFit Journal if you haven’t already done so, but I’ll do my best to summarize some of K-Star’s main points if you can’t access the video linked above.

In the end it all comes back to the 2 hand rule of midline stabilization.  While standing tall with your spine in a neutral position put one thumb on your sternum with the hand flat and your other thumb on your pubic bone with hand flat.  Note the distance between the two.  Now over extend your lumbar curve and notice how your bottom hand drops further away from your top hand, increasing the distance between the two.  Now shift back to neutral and round your lumbar and thoracic spine into flexion (flex your abs) and notice how your top hands drops closer to your bottom hand decreasing the distance between the two hands.  Both cases are examples of violations of midline stability whether it’s a flexion or extension issue.  Your goal, especially under heavy loads is to maintain midline stabilization (the distance between your two hands with a neutral spine) throughout the entire movement.

As Kelly Starrett puts it, get yourself organized before unracking the weight or pulling weight off the ground.  What he means is get your spine into a neutral position and tense your abs just enough to keep it in that position as you get set up in your starting position.  Take a big belly breath and then really squeeze using your abdominal muscles to increase the pressure and rigidity of your trunk.  This technique may take a little practice to keep from getting light headed, but I assure you that it will pay dividends in your strength training.  Once you master the technique you can brace your trunk by simultaneously contracting your abdominal and spinal erector muscles to provide maximum tension and midline stability.

Again, these are just the cliff notes so please check out the CF Journal video when you get a chance.  No heavy lifting in today’s workout, but keep this principle in mind in all your movements.

WOD 09.08.10

Hang Cleans 6×3 (50% Clean 1RM)
10,9, 8,…,1
Toes to Bar
Kettlebell Swings

15 Responses to “Bracing”

September 8, 2010 at 7:12 AM

CrossFit Wellington- Zero male athletes, 8 cougars, 11 moms, “fight gone very bad”- 5 ROUNDS before I’m even supposed to wake up in California!!

September 8, 2010 at 8:38 AM

Nice Drew! LOL! Toes to bar . . . one day that movement will happen for me. One day.

September 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Dang, Drew! How’d it feel to be cougar bait? Or were they all (appropriately) hating on how easy wall balls are for you? ;)

Michael H
September 8, 2010 at 8:48 AM

@Drew between the moms and cougars? haha.

September 8, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Sean, great article. I always forget to hold my core and Jason reminded me about it during the press last night and it helped me get through my last set.

@Drew, come back in one piece my friend, I hear cougars are relentless…Sean knows :)

Poor Xuan, I see a lot of burpees in your future for that comment
- Marcus

September 8, 2010 at 9:47 AM

….should I be worried?? :/

September 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM

haha oh drew, you know you loved every minute of these 40+ women oggling you =P don’t front!

Jenna, those women should be worried, you’re bad ass and can take em all down with just your index finger =P

September 8, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Xuan, I thought you had my back!! No way am I taking your advice on my fantasy football team anymore!

Your wod for tonight:

400m walking lunges, backwards!!

September 8, 2010 at 11:35 AM

ps. this is a TERRRIBLE WOD…I am going to die!!

September 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM

DAAAAAANG Xuan!!!! Where’s the love???

Pooja’s right Jenna…with your ferocity you could take anyone on!

September 8, 2010 at 3:46 PM

I couldn’t help myself…the joke was just sitting there…calling out to me.

Let’s be honest the vast majority of men on this planet would give a limb to be in Sean’s position and be able to have such a charismatic, caring and intelligent person in their life.

September 8, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Kiss ass!!! You just don’t want to get grounded like me!!!

September 8, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Xuan, your groveling is shameless but effective. You’re still grounded, Anna! ;)

September 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Groveling and speaking the truth are not mutually exclusive.

September 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Wow!! With that kind of groveling you’d think Xuan was sleeping on the couch and trying to get back into bed… “I’m sorry baby! I didn’t mean it! I’ll never look at that other girl again! PROMISE!”