Physical Stability

Physical Stability| What it is and why it’s important

One of the four main areas that John focuses on in prehab workouts is stability. This area of exercise involves keeping the body in aligned and steady, sometimes against resistance.

Think of standing on upright on a moving surface, like a bosu ball. To keep the body upright, not falling to the ground, you have to work. There are little micro movements happening all over your body -- in the foot, calf, knee, hips, and on up.  

Balancing moves in yoga also involve stability. Have you ever felt yourself wobbling in tree pose, yet you managed to stay upright? That’s stability training. Why is training physical stability important? Here are two reasons.

The real world -- preventing injury

In the gym or fitness studio, stabilizer muscles can be targeted and strengthened. Why is that important? One reason has to do with injury prevention. When we’re out and about in everyday life, these muscles will be tested again and again. Any time that you have to try to keep the body in a certain position, even when gravity or another force attempts to pull you out of it, your stabilizing muscles need to fire.

What does that look like in real life? Here’s an example. The other day I took my dog for a walk. I’ve only had her for a month and she isn’t the best at walking on a leash. She was lagging behind me, and my arm was behind my back. All of a sudden she spotted a squirrel and sprinted off to catch it. My shoulder muscles had to work as I tried to keep my arm in a safe position while my dog pulled away (resistance).

Here are a few more examples of real world stability:

  • Staying upright on a slippery, muddy slope (hiking) or walking on ice (going anywhere in Summit County in the winter).

  • Riding a bike

  • Ice skating

  • Skiing/snowboarding

  • Any other circumstance that involves keeping your alignment when gravity or movement would throw you off if you weren’t working (Can you think of a few examples?)

Long term alignment

In the short term, having stabilizing muscles that are ready to work is really helpful. No one wants to fall off of a bike or get a shoulder injury when walking the dog. How about in the long term? How does stability training help in the long run?

Once I started thinking about stabilizer muscles, I realized how important they are for keeping the body in good alignment over time. For example, if the stabilizers in our deep core are weak, we might develop posture habits that compound over time. Lower back problems might radiate out and affect hips, knees, upper back, shoulders, etc. By exercising and strengthening those deep core stabilizers, we’ll be able to hold our spine in a healthy, natural position during the day and avoid those problems.

After doing some stability training exercises with John, during my first week of going to prehab, my core was sore in a way that I’d never experienced after doing my usual core exercises (like sit ups or plank). John explained that it was because we worked on stabilizer muscles. That was new to me! Now that I know more about what stability training is and how to do it, I’m excited to implement it consistently. What about you? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.

Bonnie WiegandComment