If you didn't catch part 1 of this article, make sure you have a read by clicking here to get up to speed.

Having discussed how important the spine is in squatting and shown you one way that you can get yours working more effectively, here are two more methods that will give you greater control, mobility and strength with your big lifts.

 

 
  1. Check out Ido Portal's squat clinic video here. The hip rotation drills on all fours and in the squat position are gold when it comes to mobilising your spine for squats and similar lifts. If you pay attention, upon hip rotation you will see that the spine moves three dimensionally to allow these movements. I would suggest doing these movements slower than Ido demonstrates and working in ranges that you are comfortable with. Ido is in fantastic functional shape so go easy on yourself if you can't do these movements like he does. You can also help yourself out in the squat position by holding onto something out in front of you so you can focus more on the moving than on the staying upright.

  2. Rolling on a rounded spine is a wonderful way to mobilise the spine and the ribs. Lay on your back and bring your bent knees towards your stomach and use your hands to hold them towards you by loosely holding just below your knee caps or put your hands behind the knees in the crease in between your hamstrings and calves. Keep the knees apart from each other and experiment with how wide is comfortable. Holding yourself in this folded up position, slowly roll side to side only as far as you can roll without falling on your side. Feel your spine, ribs and back muscles against the floor, noticing any differences between your sides. Do you roll on slightly different parts? Do you have any tenderness? Can you roll further to one side than the other? You can also change your rolling position by lifting your head and taking your chin towards your chest and notice how this changes the rolling. Be careful to monitor your breathing and the amount of force you use to hold your legs in the bent position as you do this – be as light as you can with both and take breaks where you need to to ensure this. You may wonder how rolling with a flexed spine will help eliminate back-rounding in the big lifts. The simple answer is that the more easily you can flex your spine, the more easily you will also be able to extend it. Rolling is also invaluable at the end of big lifting sessions to alleviate tension accumulated during tons of lumbar extension throughout lifting.


So there you go – three simple methods to get you using your spine with more ease. As with most things worth working for, progress may take some time and dedicated practise. Getting the link between your shoulders, where the load acts through with these lifts, and the pelvis, where the large, prime moving muscles are attached, working in best keeping with your design will see you more able to dominate the big lifts for years to come.

Get mobile enough and you will also be able to do moves that really require mega strength, power and a flexible spine (and everything else!) like the snatch!

 

 Spinal mobility greatly helps the squat and deadlift and is a MUST for the snatch

Spinal mobility greatly helps the squat and deadlift and is a MUST for the snatch