Active Seniors

Stability 101

Stability almost seems to be a buzz word these days. People are often getting told that a lack of “core stability” is the reason for their pain. But what actually is stability? Understanding the real definition of stability helps us to understand how we can create stability.

Within our body we can categorise our muscles into 2 groups according to their function. One group is the prime movers and the other is the stabilisers.

The prime movers

The prime movers are well known – so much that these are often called the muscles “for show”. When people name muscles, they often name the prime movers; biceps, quadriceps, pectorals. These muscles are big and distinctive because their role is to generate movement within our body.

The stabilisers

These are often the lesser known group of muscles. While some have heard of these mystical muscles, not many people understand their role and hence how they need to be trained or developed. The most commonly misunderstood group of stabilisers are the rotator cuff muscles. This group of muscles is vital to create stability in the shoulder but often get ineffectively rehabilitated.

The rotator cuff muscles, like all stabilisers in the body work REFLEXIVELY. This is a very important concept to understand. Unlike our prime movers they are not designed to encounter too much conscious control. Too often, when people train their stabilisers they focus too much on “tightening” and “feeling the contraction” of the stabilisers when this is not natural.

How do we train the stabilisers to strengthen their ability to REACT to the demands of movement?

We place them in an environment where they are required to sense and respond to the changes in joint position and centre of mass, and we remove the involvement of the prime stabilisers as much as we can to avoid training bad movement patterns. So the next time you are training your “stabilisers” think about HOW & WHAT you are trying to achieve.

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