Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

The Linear Spine Flexion Machine

In my opinion, the Linear Spine Flexion Machine found here at Total Results is one of the most innovative exercise machines ever designed. You cannot find anything in a commercial gym that is even a reasonable facsimile. While the original Nautilus Pullover (early 1970's) was revolutionary and ushered in a new era in the field of exercise, the Linear Spine Flexion is unlike anything we have seen before or since its invention. Both the Linear Spine Flexion and its companion piece the Linear Spine Extension (which we do not own at Total Results) were designed by Ken Hutchins to target the trunk musculature in a way that had never before been possible.

The Linear Spine Flexion primarily targets the abdominal muscles, but also significantly engages the hamstrings and buttocks. Since most traditional abdominal exercises (whether using a machine or doing floor crunches) are rotational movements, they greatly involve the hip flexor muscles at the expense of the abdominals. The Linear Spine Flexion, as the name suggests, is a linear movement rather than a rotational movement, so hip flexor involvement is minimal and more direct attention can be given to the abdominal muscles. The subject will enter the machine facing the weight stack, and the seat height should be set so that the movement arm plunger is in contact with the back equidistant between the shoulder and hip joints. Once seated, the knees are usually placed between the second and third roller pads (or in a position so that the thighs are roughly parallel to the floor), with the shins in contact with the remaining pads, and the feet and ankles should be relaxed. A timing crank customizes the cam fall-off; the crank should be adjusted by the instructor so that the trunk is extended and the arms are mostly (if not completely) straight at bottom out. The heels of the hands should be in contact with the rung appropriate for one's arm length. A neutral head position should be maintained throughout the exercise.

The exercise will commence when the subject applies enough force to barely create movement of the plunger. In addition to pressing the back into the plunger, pressure should be applied on the rungs through the heels of the hands, and both shins should be pressed into the diagonal row of roller pads. The subject should strive to sink their butt down into the seat as they flex their trunk. To illustrate this trunk flexion, I often tell the client to "pretend they're trying to fold themselves in half, like a piece of paper." Once the greatest amount of flexion has been achieved, smoothly change directions to begin the negative phase of the movement. The chest should rise and the trunk should extend as you approach bottom out. Softly touch the plates together and begin the next repetition. There is a range of motion indicator attached to the shaft of the plunger. Once the client is no longer able to achieve their greatest range of motion, we have determined that they have reached momentary muscular failure, and they will push for an additional five to ten seconds to achieve a thorough inroad. The instructor will release the timing crank so that the subject can step safely off the machine deck and onto the floor.

This is a very demanding and technically challenging exercise, and it can take several sessions to perform it proficiently. It can be incorporated in the beginning of a workout, as in a pre-exhaust for the buttocks prior to the Leg Press, or it can be done at the end of a workout as a finishing movement. Most of my twice per week clients perform two different workout routines each week (an "A" and a "B" routine); I like to have the Linear Spine Flexion in the workout that does not contain the Leg Press and Leg Curl, because of how heavily involved the hamstrings and buttocks are in this exercise. As a bonus, according to Ken Hutchins this exercise "is also known for relieving even the most debilitating menstrual cramps within 3-5 repetitions."

Simply put, the Linear Spine Flexion is a machine unlike any other that you'll find in Northern Virginia, and we are very fortunate to offer its benefits to our clients. Schedule an appointment and experience it for yourself today!

Posted July 20, 2021 by Matthew Romans