If you are working to improve your spinal mobility because you’re learning a skill like the backbend, it’s vital to know about one of the hurdles that often holds people up in their progress…
The term ‘hinge point‘ is used to denote a spot anywhere in your body where it appears that any motion that is occurring is only occurring at that one area. Think of a hinge on a door, or the hinge of a hardcover book, and how the entire motion of the book or door being opened is due to the hinge. When training spinal mobility, you want to be able to identify your hinge points so that you know what to work on.
Hinge points put all of the motion being created into one area. When you rely on a hinge point to do a movement that should be dispersed throughout many joints, the tissues and joint at the hinge point could develop overuse or misuse injuries.
In the case of spinal mobility, you have 33 vertebrae that make up the spine, and ideally you can disperse forces and movements throughout them all.
Hinge points can develop from compensation due to old injuries, or simply because your body will always pursue the path of least resistance to do something.
In your daily life, notice how you bend over to do things like brush your teeth. Chances are you hinge at the same spinal vertebrae every time. What you want to do instead is disperse that spinal motion throughout the entire spine!
To better understand why hinge points are problematic for spinal mobility, watch the video below where I show you one of the more common hinge points people experience:
Now, you might be thinking, “I never want to do a backbend!” And that’s ok, but just remember – you don’t have to be a yogi or a gymnast to practice backbends. You can practice them just because it’s fun! And no matter your goals, you’ll make better, faster, safer progress when you learn to disperse loads and movements throughout your body.
But maybe your interest is piqued at the idea of doing a backbend…
What Mobility Do I Need To Do A Backbend?
Remember that with the backbend, or any movement or skill, you want to have enough spinal mobility and mobility of your other joints to appropriately disperse movements and forces throughout your joints. Here are three other spots to look for hinge points in your backbend:
Interestingly, two of them are joints that are meant to bend like a door, creating a hinge motion, but in a skill like the backbend, hinges in those areas can represent mobility deficits in other areas. We go into these much more in my Unlock Your Backbend Workshop.
Once you can identify if any hinge points are holding up your progress, you can formulate a plan for addressing them, and before you know it, you’ll not only have built a backbend, but you’ll also have built greater strength and mobility throughout your body!
Experience 90 minutes of learning and fun and walk away with the insights, assessments, and training drills you need to build your body to be capable of doing fun mobility skills – backbends, wheel pose, aerial fitness, and more!