I recently overheard a trainer telling his client to maintain a straight back during an exercise. This brought up and old gripe of mine. Now listen up and listen very well: if you want a straight back I suggest you get fitted for a straightjacket. You’d literally be crazy. We’ve all seen a skeleton in our time. Was the spine straight? Nope. Our spine forms more of a soft “S” shape. So, with this S in mind, is it a good idea to tell people to have a straight back? No. And yes, you should go back and tell your grade-one teacher she was wrong. The Pilates crew, and I dare say many before them, have for a long time, been professing the benefits of a neutral spine (the soft S). In simple terms, a neutral spine is best achieved by standing (yes, do it now), and placing your left index finger in your belly button and your right index finger at the bottom of your sternum. Now stand tall so that you extend, up and down, the distance between your two fingers. Your posture in this position is the posture in which your spine should be for about 95 percent of the exercises you do. You should train this posture in standing, sitting, lying, bending, pushing, pulling, twisting and moving. Perfect this posture in training and you’ll be the most up-standing person in any room. Guaranteed.