PT on the Net Research

Lifting Posture


Would you have any info, research or opinion, about training with the spine flexed versus spine in a neutral position? I am a pilates trainer and in the pilates world there is a conflict about the original repertory vs. a more rehab approach.


Yes, we can help. The spine was designed to move in many ways, it flexes, extends, bends, twists, etc. Confusion regarding movement begins when one forgets to specify a movement relative to a load application.

There is significant evidence supporting the use of sustained lordosis when performing heavy lifts. There is also very strong evidence that the body is designed to use a “flexed” lifting posture in conjunction with normal lumbo-pelvic rhythm. It is true, holding a sustained lumbar curve is not how we naturally function; however, if the load is heavy (60%> of one rep max), it’s safe to say that a lordotic lifting posture is safer on the passive structures of the spine. Where the research differs is within the professional strength world. However, I question if the research was done on genetically gifted athletes and/or athletes on drugs?


Once a client has gained control/strength in the core (lumbo-pelvic-hip complex), and you feel they have built a strong, healthy, functional back, allow them to move and/or lift light objects naturally. The spine was designed move in multi- dimensions, provided that we have a controlled (nervous system) support system (muscles). This approach will strengthen the ligamentous system; just like muscles, ligaments need exercise to maintain integrity. If the load is heavy or there is a safety concern due to individual abnormalities, you will be better off using a lordotic posture.


Paul Chek, MSS, HHP,NMT has spent many clinical years with back patients and the information he has gathered both scientifically and applied is unparallel. Paul’s Scientific Back Training Course will thoroughly explain different lifting postures as well as many useful techniques for your teachings. The CHEK Institute can be reached at 1.800.552.8789