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Spinal Cord Health = Higher Lifts?


I'm taking summer sessions for college and one class is Biology. One topic we went over was about the CNS and how the spinal cord has 31 different pairs of segments in it and are labeled in different groups (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal). Each group is associated with different muscles (ie-cervical associated with deltoids, triceps, and etc.). So, it got me thinking, if people kept a better posture and positioned their bodies to the natural curvatures of their spinal cord in and out the gym, would that create bigger lifts??? (b/c it may put more input from the spinal cord to the muscles via neuromuscular junction?)
...I have NO idea if this is true or not, but in my head it makes sense...can anyone shed some light on this topic to this undergrad?


yeah thats why they always say USE GOOD FORM.

each muscle workout has its own certain GOOD FROM you should be using.

Better results and prevents you from injury.


your normal everyday posture certainly has an effect on lifting. I think I understand your thought process with the spinal nerve involvement. If you are walking around, or sitting around with poor posture, the extra stresses placed on the musculoskeletal system effects the way that muscle is supposed to work. for example: if you slouch and round your shoulders forward, the muscles in your chest will become overworked and tight and the muscles in your back will get underused and weak. The underused muscles will begin to atrophy. There will still be nerve innervation to the area and signals will still travel to and from the area, however, since the stress placed on the back muscles from the overpowering opposing chest muscle will cause the back muscles to stop doing the job they’re supposed to do. The good thing is that the innervation is still there and it can be corrected through awareness and therapy. The bad thing is that if you do not correct your posture when it is still in the functional stage, over time it may become structural/permanent. If that occurs you will certainly be looking at impingement syndromes or other associated nerve issues.

Here is how postural issues can effect lifting and strength. Lets try to stay along with the chest/back example from above and look at the bench press.

You have tight shoulders and chest and weak/atrophied back. The tightness in your chest also creates weakness in the chest. Tightness decreases ROM so right off the bat you can’t perform the movement correctly because you can’t reach depth. one element that is often overlooked in a bench is the back involvement. In simple terms, you want your shoulder blades to be set just right so you can use you back to support the movement. If the shoulder blades are constantly protracted, the rhomboids are weak and can’t be utilized in this movement. Also, the sarratus anterior (muscle that keeps the shoulder blade firm on the back) is also weak and you may even have winged scapula. Chances are you can’t properly set your back.

With uncorrected deviated posture you unknowingly walk into the gym with a diminished capacity for reaching your full weight lifting potential.

Bench is one example, the simplest one I could give. Pelvic misalignment will have an affect on squat/DL/anything using hip mobility.

In a long winded answer, spinal nerve involvement usually is not a cause of poor posture unless there is a leasion/trauma/illness present that is damaging at the NS level. Repetitive stress from poor posture will have an effect on the NS over time.

Hope this makes it more clear.


This is the fundamental theory behind old school chiropractic theory, no?


There is a lot of avenues for better posture improving lifts. Abnormal postures/stress usually affect the discs, which in turn can impinge the spinal nerve roots. Besides the pain aspect there can be delayed sensory, motor and propioceptive transmissions.

Poor posture in the gym causes decreased function mostly from poor leverage and transfer of force.


[quote]conorh wrote:
This is the fundamental theory behind old school chiropractic theory, no?[/quote]

I can’t state what chiropractors are taught in school. In Kinesiology, we discuss movement analysis and this topic to a great deal as well as in Massage therapy. I also don’t think I would call it a theory as much as I would go on to state that the research had been performed to a great extent to provide more information on postural dysfunctions and the ailments they may cause.

As a former competitive weight lifter I can attest to the effects in performance even a slight imbalance in posture can cause.