Midline stabilization or how to safely body slam a human

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Print
Midline
Coach Glassman defines midline stabilization as “…rigidity along the spine during functional movement.”  You’ll hear coaches at any CrossFit, in any part of the world, in all languages tossing out similar cues to remind us sweaty fitness heathens to keep our midline stable and engaged while doing any physical activity.  I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of “Stay tight!”, “Engage your core!”, “Squeeze your stomach!”, “Arch your back!”, “Oh dear God, what are you doing!?”, etc so on and so forth.
I believe this is the first, and one of the most important skills, any CrossFit athlete should master.  Why?  It’s all about safety and efficiency.  Anytime we let our head and spine come out of alignment during exercise, we increase the potential to injure ourselves.  It’s pretty obvious to see how poor midline stabilization can lead to injury.  We’ve all witnessed someone pull a deadlift with an ultra-rounded lower back, do a back squat and it looks like the barbell is going to fold the person in half, a handstand pushup and their back is doing a reverse S against the wall, a pushup where the arms are magically near lock-out yet somehow the hips haven’t quite got off the floor yet, and the list goes on.  You’ve all seen it, and you know it just doesn’t look right, and guess what, it’s not.  Beyond the safety and proper mechanics involved when we have midline stabilization, it also allows us to be more efficient and powerful.  This is the good stuff!
I like to equate our midline to a transmission of a car, whereas our sexy butt and legs (throw in our shoulders and arms too) are our engine.  A rock solid midline allows us to transfer all the power from our prime movers to whatever heavy, nasty object we are trying to sling around, including just your body.  If you look like Sloppy McSloppyPants, that force you’re generating from your sexy parts will instead go to folding, bending, or moving you in ways that aren’t conducive to power output or holding your mortal enemy over your head before you body slam him onto the mat at Wrestlemania.
Great, the points been made, so how do we get there?  Easy!  Follow these simple steps before you do anything ever, for all eternity…
  1. While standing, gently squeeze your butt, your pelvis should tilt slightly
  2. Arch your back as hard as you can, your ribcage should move upwards
  3. Take a giant breath, focus on the belly not the chest
  4. Squeeze your tummy like you are trying to bring your belly button to your spine -OR- imagine baring down as hard as you can after a post-Superbowl party bathroom break
  5. As you’re squeezing/baring down, your ribcage should drop
  6. Lock your head into place, imagine you have a metal rod going through your head and out your tailbone
Whoop there it is, whoop there it is!  You have achieved midline stabilization.  While in the midst of a workout, I like to cue folks to “breath and squeeze”.  For example, while doing air squats you would take that big breath and stabilize, do the squat, at the finish you exhale-inhale and resqueeze/bare down.  It’s an easy way to set a rhythm and cadence when doing high-repetition movements.  The heavier the load gets, the more you’ll have to squeeze/bare down.  It’s also helpful, as you are squeezing/baring down, to exhale a little air through your teeth (or yell/scream/kiai).  Allowing some of your breath to be forced out allows you to squeeze/bare down a little bit harder.  Not too much though, or that front squat you’re trying to complete will fold you like a cheap K-Mart deck chair.  Sorry K-Mart.
So, there you have it, now go forth unto the world and stabilize!
Printable Version

Looking for a competition near you? Having an event?
Check out our new Event Calendar!

Our event calendar lets you create your own event listing for any type of event - throwdown, adventure race, seminar, you name it. For free. In 2 minutes. It's as easy as writing a Facebook post. And you can embed the calendar right on your website.
Try it today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Most Popular of All Time

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

I Am CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

LANDMARK WOD... Hint. Check IAmCrossFit.com tonight at 10pm for details.

29th Street CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

This class is awesome! They make us coaches look forward to being at the 6:15am class everyday! 6:15am is where it's at! Keep up the great work "#SeflieCrew"!!! Te la perdiste @jaylorenzo814! #ButFirstLetNeTakeASelfie #Repost from @rae_m12 "Okay I have to repost this message because I couldn't be more agree with that " thanks you to @mosays05 and @jaylorenzo814 for being the BEST crossfit coaches !! We greatly appreciate you both and thanks for pushing us to reach our full potential ! ... And jay welcome back #selfiecrew#iloveyouguys#wehavethebestcoaches#butfirstletmetakeaselfie#class6:15#ilovemyclass#crossfitwynwood#doitbetter❤️"

Sledge CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Trying to get the #Sledgebarbellclub to take one good pic #sledgefamily

Iron Temple CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Iron Temple CrossFit posted on Facebook

FRIDAY-140411 CrossFit- “Main Group/Basic/Hybrid” WU-(10:00) 4:00 – Row/AD/Jump Rope + Coaches Choice Body Weight Movements Across the Floor + Coaches Choice Bar Warm-up Training- 4 sets, 30 sec Sled Push 30 sec Rest 30 sec Row 30 sec Rest + 3:30 Rest + 4 sets, 30 sec AirDyne 30 sec Rest 30 sec Pull-up 30 sec Rest + 3:30 Rest + 4 sets, 30 sec Crawl 30 sec Rest 30 sec GHD Hip Extension 30 sec Rest “Competition” A-Group (Female Competitor Program) AM- 2 sets, @Z1 Row 10:00 Jog 15:00 PM- A. Hang Power Clean – 5 x 5, Moderate (keep it under 70%), on 1:30 B. Back Squat – 65% x 4 x 2, 70% x 4 x 2, 75% x 4 x 4 C. AMRAP Unbroken BF/Kipping Pull-ups x 1 set, 1:30 Rest + AMRAP Strict Pull-ups x 3 sets, on 2:00 Rest D. 3 sets, Unilateral KB RDL @3010 x 8-12 / Leg, 30 sec Rest (between legs & before moving on) Weighted Plank – 1:00, 2:00 Rest B-Group (Male Competitor Program) AM- 2 sets, @Z1 Row 10:00 Jog 15:00 PM- A. Dip Clean – 65-70% x 3 x 5, on 1:30 Rest B. Segmented Clean DL (Inch, Just Above Knee, Pocket) x 5 x 5 sets, pausing 3 sec at each position, on 2:00 Rest C. Barbell Lunge -@3010 x 10/Alternating x 4 sets, 2:00 Rest (build to a tough, but not max 10) D. AMRAP Unbroken Strict Pull-ups x 3 sets, on 2:00 Rest (log best set) E. AMRAP Unbroken DU’s x 3 attempts, on 2:00 Rest (log best set) Weightlifting- A. HC (Hip or Mid-Thigh) – 5RM + 90% x 5 x 5 B. Clean DL – 10RM + 90% x 10 x 2 C. Supinated Grip Bent Row @2012 x 8-12 x 3-4 sets D. Strict Pull-up 75% (of Monday’s Best AMRAP) x 4 sets, 2:00 Rest

IMT CrossFit posted on Facebook

"Mo Legs Mo Problems" 200m Run 16 Weighted Step Ups 400m Run 16 W.S.U. 600m Run 16 W.S.U. 800m Run For Time *After each run, 12 Deadlifts (185,105)

CrossFit North Alpharetta shared an image on Facebook

Palmetto Bay CrossFit posted on Facebook

WOD 18 min amrap 5 BB floor press 10 T2B 15 cleans ------ Core

Animus CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Kristy Parrish published the post Free Money: Fitness Through a Financial Lens on Tabata Times
The title says it all for this article. Fitness and health are free money. They’re out there for...
Mat-Su CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

J. Humenay published the post Namesake WODs: Honored Through Sweat on
Last week, my trainer assigned me a WOD called "Dork". At first I thought he was making fun of my...
CrossFit Blueprint posted an article
CrossFit Refinery posted an article
CrossFit Paragon posted an article
The CrossFit Cube posted an article
CrossFit Dojo posted on Facebook

Friday WOD 041114 5 Rounds for Time 200m Run 20 Burpees 2 Rope Climbs 20 Kettlebell Swings

CrossFit Station shared a link on Facebook

http://crossfitstar.com/wod-friday-april-11-2014/

CrossFit Station posted an article
CrossFit Dojo shared an image on Facebook

Way to go get'er y'all!

CrossFit Midtown posted on Facebook

Happy 30th bday to our Head Coach Mike Aaron! We hope you've had a great day :)

CrossFit Rx posted an article
Boise CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Decatur shared a link on Facebook

Boise CrossFit posted on Facebook

Todd T just squatted 185 for 5 reps. His previous 1 rep from 2 months ago was 125. #gymprogramming

CrossFit Peachtree posted on Facebook

WOD for Friday April 11th... A. 3 sets Not for time Handstand hold 60-90sec 10-12 Pistols L- sit hold 30-60sec Rest 2min B. For Time 30 KB/DB Clean and Jerks (15ea) (53/50//35/30) 30 KB/DB OH Walking Lunges (15ea) Run 800m 30 KB/DB Clean and Jerks (15ea) 30 KB/DB OH Walking Lunges (15ea)

CrossFit Prestige posted on Facebook

409 (4/11/14) 10 Rounds 6 DL #225/155 12 Push Ups 24 Double Unders / 50 Singles

Iron Temple CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Check out this great diagram of muscles recruited during the Clean & Jerk. It hits just about every muscle. One of the main reasons Olympic Weightlifting is so effective on the body as a whole.

CrossFit Peachtree shared an image on Facebook

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

An evolutionary take on Paleo and Low Carb Diets. - http://t.co/KeIoe5pmre

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

What's for dinner? Lose Weight at Dinner With These 9 Paleo Recipes - http://t.co/vvgfhvhKlz

CrossFit S3 posted on Facebook

Friday S3 Conditioning: 5 Rounds: 10 Thrusters (95/65)(75/55)(65/45) 20 Ab Mat Situps 50 Double Unders (Sub=100 Singles + 10 Lateral Bar Hops) 400 M Run

CrossFit Perimeter posted on Facebook

Best Rx Scores from Tuesday: Doug J 282 Malia M 279 Harrison F 279 Nardia W 252 Travis Thorne 242 Travis Jones 230 Erin P 229 Damian C 228 Jonathan L 226 Lauren Z 225 Dan S 224 Frank V 215 Chris C 214 Adam M 205 Kelly D 201 Ken T 189 Melanie W 187 Julie S 163 WOD: 3 Rounds: 2 minutes of WBS (20/14) 2 minutes of rowing 2 minutes of burpees 90S Rest

Carolina CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

29th Street CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Come on in today for a free trial! All of these programs under one roof! #TrustTheProcess #CrossFitWynwood #Wynwood #Miami #Midtown #StartToday #GetFit #GetStarted #CrossFit #Spinning #BootCamp #FitKids #PersonalTraining #WhereDoYouTrain

The CrossFit Cube shared an image on Facebook

Today mobility class is CANCELLED! Sorry for the inconvenience #cancelled #mobility

Palmetto Bay CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Friday 4/11/14 from 7am-10am we will have open gym. Pick your favorite WOD or work on a skill.

CrossFit Soul posted an article
No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Larry Neal http://t.co/SUgxwIvm5Z

No Excuses CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

Mario Macrina http://t.co/gELWqGcRno

CrossFit On the Square posted on Facebook

Interested in Krav Maga?? We have someone looking for a training partner to split the discounted semi-private lessons with. Email ivy@crossfitonthesquare.com for inquires.

CrossFit Intense posted on Facebook

Don't forget that our Intense Strongman event is this Saturday at 9 am! We have 36 registrants (which is AWESOME for a strongman event) and we have 7 women signed up! The day will be finished off with the athletes performing a truck pull. This event will be fun for the whole family and is expected to conclude no later than 2 pm. The weather forecast looks great so make plans to attend!

CrossFit Downtown Miami posted on Facebook

Happy Thrusday #TeamCDM ! Share with us your favorite throwback thrusday using our hashtag! #tbt

The CrossFit Cube shared an image on Facebook

STOP THINKING START DOING! by @friks84 "Photo cred to @mrandychong #crossfitcube" via @PhotoRepost_app

CrossFit Rock Hill posted on Facebook

Hoodie orders will be submitted today at 3pm. If you still want one, post it here!

CrossFit On the Square shared a link on Facebook

The only way you can hurt your body is if you don't use it. -The Legendary Jack Lalanne.

CrossFit North Atlanta shared a link on Facebook

https://flic.kr/p/mXccyz

CrossFit Smyrna posted an article
CrossFit WV shared an image on Facebook

JJ gets a bar muscle on his last day at crossfit wv!!!

CrossFit Smyrna posted on Facebook

Find your 1RM Squat Clean Rest 5 min 21 Deadlifts 225 lbs 21 Handstand Push-ups 15 Deadlifts 225 lbs 15 Handstand Push-ups 9 Deadlifts 225 lbs 9 Handstand Push-ups

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV