The Importance of Stability

by Tia Dewick in Training

Most of us are guilty in assuming that our body automatically works the way that it should, but this is definitely not the case. Our bodies adapt to our day to day lifestyles, which are not always in favour of good physical health or good physical functioning. For example, individuals that spend their working life behind a desk may develop many physical detriments such as curvature of the spine and tight glutes/hip flexors which can hinder their athletic performance and cause injury unless they take appropriate measures to improve their posture and flexibility such as taking up yoga. A similar principle applies for stability, we don’t all automatically have good balance (although some are naturally gifted), most of us have to work for it by incoporating stability exercises into our weekly routine.

Without having good stability, we have limited control of our movement which can not only hinder our performance, but it can also cause recruitment of the wrong muscle groups which can consequently result in injury. For example have you ever wobbled all over the place when performing lunges? Not only would this have recruited the wrong muscle groups, it would have reduced the number of reps you could perform within a given time frame and may have also potentially caused you to reduce your weights. Therefore, stability is important for everyone whether your goal is to improve your performance, lose weight or bulk up to enable you to get the best out of your sessions.

Our bodies are just like a car, the more we look after them, the less repairs they need. Another way to think of your body is like jenga, if you remove a block (ie stability) from any level of tower, then it’s either going to have distribute its weight differently or fall over. So we can have instability at any section of our body with the most common areas of instability coming from the ankles and hips or having a weak core. So what do we need to do to avoid this? Incorporate elements of stability training into our exercise programme.

Stability training refers to performing exercises while on an unstable surface with the goal of recruiting the core and other stabilising muscle groups. Stability exercises include skaters, the single leg deadlift, plank leg swings and exercises using a stability ball or bosu ball such as crunches and lunges. Stability exercises can also be incorporated into every day life such as standing on one leg when brushing your teeth. There is no golden recipe for how often or for how long you should perform stability exercises, it’s just a case of regularly implementing them into your training regime.