Side-Lying Neutral Position: Crucial for Spinal Rotation

side-lying neutral positionIt’s not often that we need to come into a side-lying neutral position. In fact, leg work and spinal rotation exercises are the only instances I can think of when it’s necessary.

While a neutral spine is important during leg work, it is crucial when rotating the spine. If you are not set up in a correct neutral position and rotate, you could injure your back.

Here is a step-by-step guide to get you into the correct position.

Side-Lying Neutral Position

  1. Before you come onto your side, get your upper body aligned and in the best possible position. Broaden your collarbones.
  2. As you lower onto your side, make sure that your shoulder is directly under you. If your shoulder is in the correct location, your ribs and waist should be lifted off the floor. Even with the shoulder directly under you, you should still be able to move your arm to the desired ending position. For leg work, you could be lifted on your elbow or resting your head on your arm. For spinal rotation, the arm should be straight in front of your shoulder.
  3. side-lying for leg workIf you are doing leg work, your lower body should straighten so that you are in a line. Truly, you want to feel like you are straight as an arrow. Plus, with your shoulder in the correct place, it should be easier to keep the correct alignment of the rib cage, spine, and pelvis. If you are doing spinal rotation, the directions for the lower body can vary so follow the instructor’s directions.
  4. As you exercise in this position, keep thinking about your alignment. Your goal is to feel like you’re standing as tall as you can–except that you’re lying on your side instead of standing.

Side-Lying Neutral Position Video

Here is a video for visual learners. I’ve tried to zoom in on the shoulders when I’m getting into position so you can really see what I mean.

Can you think of other side-lying exercises? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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