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During my various workouts I meet people with different strength and fitness levels and different levels of knowledge about how to execute exercises in the right way. Because it is important for me that the people on my courses perform the exercises in the correct way, I teach, explain and demonstrate correct movement patterns.

Why is a neutral posture so important in everyday life and in sport? Why is it so important to first put the spinal column in the correct position and stabilize the muscles in the trunk, before we execute each exercise? I will try to answer these questions in the following paragraphs.

First we need to know what neutral posture is: we talk about neutral posture when the body is in balance during rest and movement; when the muscles do little work, there is minimal load on the joints, and all the body’s structures are protected from degenerative changes and injury.

If we look from the lateral plane, the spinal column of a healthy adult is in a double S-shape, and from the front plane it is straight. So, if we examine the shape of the spinal column from the side we can see that in the cervical and lumbar regions the curve of the spine is directed forwards, and in thoracic and sacrum regions the curve of the spine is directed backwards. The position of the pelvis influences the orientation of the spinal curve. From the lateral plane (Picture 1), the centre of gravity in the neutral position of the body (standing still and straight) travels through the crown of the head, the lobe of the ear, the upper neck vertebrae, the shoulder joint, the lumbar vertebrae, slightly behind the axis of the hip joint, just in front of the axis of the knee joint and just in front of the lateral malleolus in the ankle. To maintain this position, constant activity of the neuromuscular system is required. Through the feedback loop, the central nervous system continously compares the actual and desired positions of the body and makes the necessary corrections.

SLIKA 1: Correct / neutral posture (Norris, 2000)

All deviations from the position described above (Figure 1) represent an asymmetry or an incorrect posture in the body. This is reflected in the “abnormal” position and shape of the spine, shoulders and lower limbs. All these changes are not the result of damage to the neuro-muscular and bone systems, but are simply the result of inadequate and improper muscle activity, which can be corrected with proper exercises and training. However, if these abnormalities are not corrected early enough, they can become permanent deformations.

It should be emphasized that people need to carry out the exercises on both sides of the body, not only on one side. If you do exercises on the left side of the body, you must do the same exercise on the right side. Only in this way can the body stay in symmetry.

So, before starting to execute a certain motion pattern or a certain exercise (squat, push up, etc.), we must first ensure that the appropriate muscle groups are properly stabilized and that the backbone is in the neutral position. The optimal mechanics of the spinal column is in the neutral (anatomical or double S) position, where all the joints are aligned (the description applies to the standing still and straight position):

– feet placed hip-width apart;

– pelvis in the neutral position – pubis and coccyx are facing downwards;

– shoulders are in the line of the hips, and the chin is held slightly inwards and downwards.


The body can be in the neutral position while we are standing, sitting, on hands and knees, kneeling, lying on the side (hip), lying on the back, or in all the positions in which we want to do exercises. Only then, when we have a neutral position of the body, can we start with the safe execution of the exercise that we have chosen.


If you want to know more about correct body position and proper exercise execution you can come to my workouts and train with me in Fitness Center TOP in Lesce. See you there 😉



  • Gržinič, A., Želj, T., Mulej, B. in Kodela, K. (2014). Pilates priročnik 1. Ljubljana: Fitnes zveza Slovenije
  • Jenko, G. (2017). Fitnes priročnik (modul II). Ljubljana: Fitnes zveza Slovenije
  • Norris, C. M. (2000). Back stability. Champaign: Human Kinetics.

Mojca Svetina, Physical Education Professor, Strength and Fitness Trainer.


Plesne in športne storitve, Mojca Svetina, s.p.
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Email: info@mojcasvetina.si

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