Iron Man, Olympians and Travelers
By Lee Brandon, CSCS 
Your spine is meant to have curves! Sitting for long bouts on a train, plane or automobile can cause unhealthy compressions in the spine. Couple that with repetitive lifting of luggage, and you have a recipe for back pain or injury. Travelers might attend a yoga or exercise class to relieve stress and back pain while traveling, however the New York Times might argue otherwise. On Jan. 5, 2012, they published an article titled “How yoga can wreck your body.” This article sounded an alarm heard around the fitness world! So, yoga can be beneficial for some, but not for everyone. In the midst of so much mixed information, are there any exercises or stretches that truly offer an achy seasoned traveler relief? How about in the privacy of their hotel room? My answer is a resounding “Yes, with NEU Spine® Training.” 
Understanding a ‘Neutral Spine’ position is critical. (1) In other words, you can strengthen your back without putting undue stress and strain on your discs, facets and ligaments. A Neutral Spine is defined as, “The place where your spine absorbs forces the best,” which means neither bent forward into full flexion or bent backward into hyperextension. Keeping your head and shoulders balanced over your hips and feet will keep the neutral curves in the spine intact! Archaic protocols geared toward helping damaged, inflamed discs or facet joints in the lower spine end up putting additional unnecessary strain. So, tired, traveling spines need to really be cautious! Your spine training needs be pain-free. 
I always say: “Pre-hab. not Re-hab.” or “Strengthen not Strain.” 
It is imperative that you attain and maintain your Postural Stabilizers as much as possible before, during and after travel. “Strengthening your core muscles will reduce mechanical irritation upon [your] discs and facets, lessening your pain.”(3) It will also allow you to enjoy more of your up-time (time spent standing and walking). 
Will these exercises really help with my travel? 
Yes! NEU-Spine® exercises for your core and lower back are recommended by several well-respected sources (9, 10, 11). In fact, there are increasing numbers of high quality randomized controlled studies which demonstrate that, “Core Stabilizing Exercises have a profoundly positive and long-term effect on both decreasing lower back pain and improving over-all performance and function” (5,6,7,8). I have Olympians and other personal clients perform the basic “90/90 Brace” exercise daily on the floor with towels. 

Myself and Marcus Rogan (Two-time Olympic Silver Medalist in swimming currently training for the 2012 Olympics in London) states that, “The [AB-Inforcer®] hand piece lights up when you do it right!” 

He is referring to the machine’s hand-held signaling system that uses a series of lights to tell users when both sides of the spinal muscles are in alignment and active. 
Marcus on the AB-Inforcer®. If you successfully complete the NEU-Spine® exercises on towels and need a challenge, then take your spine mastery to the next level with the AB-Inforcer tool.

*Roll up a towel for the curve in your neck.  
Fold a bath towel to be positioned under your belly button.  Hold 1’ and breathe!  Or…

Remember all your strength and power comes from your core. If your core is weak then your arms, legs and head are also weak. Don’t believe me? Ask Iron Man; he used this tool in his training workouts. 

Lee Brandon is a strength and conditioning expert who specializes in evaluating and assessing postural biomechanics and function. She is the two-time World Long-Drive Champion in Golf. She currently holds multiple patents to one of the best-kept secrets in Hollywood for training the core called the AB-Inforcer® and is the inventor of the AB-Vanced Neu-Spine® Training Systems. Lee is the former Assistant Strength Coach for the New York Jets football team. Also she is an internationally known coach, teacher and motivational speaker and works as a consultant to many celebrities, olympians, veterans, universities, professional athletes and teams. She has been seen on ESPN, the Golf Channel, and highlighted in Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest. For more information, visit 
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