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Bracing: the how's, what's, when's and why's

You have probs heard this idea of bracing before but wondered what it actually means. A common misconception with bracing is defaulting to sucking in your stomach - which is the opposite of what we want to do.

Soooooo what does bracing actually mean? How and when should you do it?

Firstly, it is essential to understand more about this because your long-term health depends on it! We lift weights, here in at the OPC Method! So I wanna make sure you are all lifting ze weights welllll into your elderly years without blowing out your back or lifting like a dork. So pinning down your ribs will keep you safe and stop you from lifting like a dork - shabam!

I learnt this the hard way. I had terrible back pain everytime I back squatted for a long time because of not bracing properly. As soon as I learnt to correct this I was able to produce much more power in  my squat - and pain free!

What is bracing?

Your ribcage can flare and close, of which you should be able to control. This is especially pertinent when it comes to breathing and breathing drills.

When I talk about pinning down your rib cage it simply means that your controlling your midsection and creating a neutral position.

Why do we brace?

Firstly, to look after your spine. If your ribcage is flared, creating an arch in your lower back, it is that lumbar spine (lower back) that will take the hit. So we want to think about keeping your ribs stacked over your hips, like two bowls balancing on top of one another.


Think of your core as a cylinder shape. It is not just your front abs that we are talking about. You don’t want to suck in as that could cause even more rib flare. But think about pushing your ribs down to your toes and tucking your tailbone underneath. If you do have issues with lower back pain you will most likely feel a relief straight away.


You want to be bracing properly for lifts like squats, deadlifts (read more about the deadlift set up here) and overhead presses. But I would also suggest practicing this while sitting or standing throughout the day to help improve posture, and again, if you are someone that experiences lower back pain, this will be a great help. Lower back pain does not mean stop lifting! It just means that we need to correct how you re bracing and movement deficiencies!

Do you have trouble bracing properly? Have you had experience with lower back pain while lifting? Remember that we are all individuals with different experiences so if anything here resonates with you please share as there may well be someone else that can benefit from your story!

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