Is it just me or is that not a sick name for a band? Kind of reminiscent of the headbanging hair bands of the 80’s.  Luckily this era was a little before my time and I was also never able to grow hair long enough to justify violently whipping my head back and forth.

Then the studies began to emerge linking such banging of the head and cervical spine to brain damage and cervical herniations.  No surprises there.

At this point you might be saying to yourself “I don’t headbang and 80’s music is still pretty terrible.  What does this actually have to do with me?”

From what I see when I look at the crap that most people are doing in the gym I think it is safe to say that it has everything to do with you.  I see necks flopped over during everything from planks to lunges to dumbbell rows.

If it’s not hard enough to watch people with terrible posture do crunches, it looks as if most of them are having seizures on the floor.  This is usually when I head back to my office to do some headbanging of my own…against a wall.

Ignoring your posture during both exercise and daily life is like playing with dynamite.  It might not go off while you are sitting at your desk or training in the gym but fast forward 10 years when you are having a cervical fusion or are wearing a neck brace.

You could blame it on the fact that you spend 8 hours at a desk each day but to tell you the truth a little conscious effort in the gym can prevent all of this.  I mean, you are training to improve your body in some way right?  It can be as simple as practicing neutral spine from neck to but during EVERY exercise.

So what exactly is a neutral spine? Neutral spine is the “natural” curvature of your spine.  In most people’s cases it is what the “natural” curvature of their spine “should” be.  Spending years in front of a computer for 8-12 hours a day does nothing for your spinal posture, not to mention your social and/or love life but that is another discussion.

Compare the cervical spine here to the headbanger above.

Not including spinal dysfunctions such as scoliosis and other abnormalities, the above picture is what your spine should look like during most if not all exercises.  These include but are not limited to:

  • deadlifts
  • planks
  • pretty much most core exercises
  • pushups
  • rows (all variations)
  • pullups
  • squats
  • bicep curls
  • BOSU crunches

Get the picture?  Basically what I’m tired of seeing is people contorting their body for the sake of squeezing out an extra rep or doing more weight than they should.  Even worse is those that think if doing 3 reps is good then doing 345 reps must be better.

Exercise is supposed to make us better, not just kill time and burn calories.

This is sadly a common posture.

If you want to fix your posture, get stronger, move better, be faster, gain endurance, perform better or just be able to enjoy all the things you did when your were 20 when your are 60 then STOP RUINING YOUR BODY WITH POOR EXERCISE.  I don’t care how much you can bench press or deadlift if your posture still looks like this at the end of the day:

What most people fail to see is that even good exercises can have less than optimal and sometimes deleterious results when not done properly.

So lets not throw out the baby with the bathwater and realize that sometimes less is more and sacrificing quality for quantity is just as terrible as Anna Kournikova’s personal training ability on The Biggest Loser.  Maybe she should have stuck to tennis modeling.  Ziiiiing!

She lasted one season....maybe the show will pick up a real trainer now.

Written by Steve