DAILY DOSE OF POSTURAL CORRECTION
EXERCISE: PRONE COBRA
Although the prone cobra is by many standards close to ideal, there is still one fundamental flaw that lies in the way it is commonly executed. The flaw in the common execution of the prone cobra puts the lumbar erector spinae in an extremely compromised position. Whenever the pelvis is positioned on the floor during a prone cobra, it leaves no room for structures above to stabilize at the thoracic spine.
This then causes a severe extension in the lumbar region that will place an unnecessary amount of tension on the lumbar erector spinae musculature. The curvature in the lower back is the biggest indicator of this dysfunction being present. Since most people who live in our culture already have major problems with their lower erector spinae, it is best to not do anything like this as it will exacerbate the problem.
DEFICIENT POINT OF ACTIVATION
This is the common place in which tension is felt when doing a traditionally correct prone cobra. If there is a place we do not need more tension, it would definitely be the lumbar erector spinae. This tension is best not to nurture as it is the place in which most imbalance originates.
Although this is not the worst Prone Cobra you would ever see, there is still something pivotally wrong. Specifically in the lumbar region. Since the upper abdominals are restrictive due to tightness, it has inhibited the thoracic region from extending. This will structurally force the lumbar region to extend in compensation.
If we analyze the illustration, we will see a much different positioning than the last. For starters the pelvis is at about shoulder level in height. This will promote transverse abdominis activity while exercising the thoracic musculature. The head will be just slightly off the ground to ensure that we do not go into lumbar or cervical extension.
Something to really take note of is that the prone cobra should not orient too much range of motion. The whole purpose of conditioning the body is to develop movement efficiency. Big, wasteful movements are unnecessary when building the path towards efficiency in the human body. To get the full effect out of a prone cobra, we will need to embody the characteristic of efficiency to its fullest potential.
To promote a neutral spine during this exercise, it is best to slightly elevate the hips off the ground. After the pelvis has been lifted, the pelvis must move posteriorly to initiate a neutral lumbo-pelvic region.
In order to prevent pressure from going to the cervical musculature, it is very important to maintain a neutral neck during this exercise. To prevent this from happening, it is best to lift the head at most 1 inch off of the ground.
Once the pelvic region is in alignment, we will want to implement a neutral spine. This will integrate the upper and lower body as one, and will be the key point in stimulating the T-spine musculature.
This is the optimal place in which we should feel fatigue when doing the Prone Cobra. Since this is a place where the body has not operated from for an entire lifetime, it is one of the more difficult places to fatigue on the entire body.