Teaching a patient or a client how to stabilize in neutral spine is the cornerstone of lumbar stabilization exercises.
Lumbar neutral spine is achieved when the pelvis is vertical when sitting or standing - with a corresponding gentle arch of the low back. When lying on your back on a mat, neutral lumbar spine is achieved when the pelvis is postioned parallel to the mat. Once again there should be a gentle arch of the low back.
This gentle arch (lordosis) of the lumbar spine is important because it is a position of activity for the lumbar multifidus muscles. The multifidus muscles are the deepest muscles of your spine and are hugely important to spinal stabilization. If your multifidus muscles are weak your back is vulnerable for injury.
Learning how to co-contract the multifidus muscles with the deep abdominals muscles, while maintaining neutral spine will make your core and your spine stronger and decrease back pain (Hodges, 2003).
Using resistance bands can help support the weight of the arms and the legs as their movement way from the center challenges neutral lumbar spine stability. I'm a big fan of feeling it so that this tip makes sense for you.
Lie on your back in neutral lumbar spine with both legs lifted into table top. Stretch an arm and the same side leg away from center - maintain the neutral lumbar spine position. Do 10 times on each side. Now try the exercise again with a resistance band being held from hand to foot. Notice how the resistance makes the exercise easier to stabilize the spine in neutral spine position.
The picture below demonstrates the exercise being performed with the Hooked on Pilates HANDIBANDS. These bands are wonderful because they can adjust to your height and fitness level. The handle and foot loop system makes holding onto the resistance band easier.