"You can not fire a cannon from a canoe"
Although the above quote is an exaggerated example, stop and take a look at your local exercise arena! How many people do you see or know that can move amazing weights on a fixed machine, yet when asked to perform a single leg squat falls to pieces, literally!
What I'm saying is rather often than concentrating on what can be seen, what we can not see first! After all talk to any architect about a building, what are developed first on any building are a good foundation and a good structure. With out this the only thing that happens is the building collapses.
Stability training is needed today more than ever! It is projected that by the year 2045, there will be 77 million people older than the age of 65, and 1 out of every 5 people will be age 85 or older! Almost half the population over age 74 has difficulty with common functional activities, such as lifting, climbing stairs, walking, standing, bending, reaching and grasping, and it is well known that the most common orthopedic injury among the elderly are hip fractures.
To address the growing numbers of elderly members joining gyms and health clubs, emphasis will need to be placed on exercises that improve key bio motor abilities such as strength, endurance, balance, agility, coordination and flexibility. Accomplishing these objectives requires greater emphasis on functional exercise programs, including Tai Chi, Yoga, Swiss ball training and free weight training, and a greater emphasis will need to be put on the skilful use of tools such as the Fitter, balance boards and BOSU balls . Effective implementation of these exercise programs will require a more structured approach to training than is currently being used and it will require that gyms provide the space for these types of exercise, particularly in the free weight area.
Stability of the human body can first be broken down into separate sections:
This is the ability of any joint to function around an optimal axis of rotation. All joints within the body are affected by segmental stabilizers (cross one joint) and gross stabilizers (multiple joints), due to common faulty posture gross muscles can be used to try and stabilize the joint rather than the segmental muscles. As the smaller segmental muscles affect what the larger global muscles do this results in faulty loading and ever breakdown. So This would be the first stage of our structured training, to look at the persons posture and the relationship of muscles around the joints to identify what is tight and needs loosing and what is weak and needs strengthening. A Classic example is rounded shoulders and forward head positioning, in this case the chest, neck and upper abdomen need to be stretched, whilst the upper back and rotator cuff musculature need to be strengthened.
Performing a length / tension assessment, with particular emphasis on those muscles recognized as tight, will be essential to developing a corrective stretching program. Stretching tonic muscles prior to exercise has been shown to decrease their activation, thus encouraging normal sequencing, muscle recruitment and joint stability – all prerequisites to developing a balanced body! By carefully allocating time to restore intrinsic muscle balance and stability through joint mobilizations, stretching exercises and stabilization exercises, the practitioner will be facilitating more rapid acquisition of task specific balance skills and long term stability in his / her client.
Can you maintain optimal alignment while doing nothing? The common answer due to today's listed lifestyle is commonly no!
Static stability exercises are exercises that strengthen the postural muscles and improve postural awareness. An example of the many ways to begin static postural training is the Seated Posture Trainer, during which your client learns to sit with good posture on a Swiss ball. As the client's postural endurance, control and awareness improve, lifting a foot off the floor and trying to hold good spinal alignment and balance can challenge them. What is of great importance during the static postural phase is that the client learns an awareness of their body segments and how to balance them in good alignment. To accomplish this requires more than simply standing there while being prodded by an instructor to "hold good posture."
To exemplify how developing static postural competency is critical to long-term efficiency in the use of your motor system, consider that "posture is the position from which movement begins and ends." If you begin in poor posture, you will not only end in poor posture, you will be less skillful and more likely to acquire unnecessary crime. A great example of this very situation can be seen in golf. The first thing you must do to be successful as a golfer is addresses the ball. Addressing the ball is very much a postural event.
Once you can gradually hold a variety of positions, such as lying, kneeling, sitting and standing it is then onto the next stage.
Dynamic / task specific stability
Simply put this is the ability to maintain optimal alignment of the body's' bones and joints while either moving or performing a gross task. This can be any task from bending to pick up the shopping to moving those heavy dumbbells within the gym. Now most of the movements performed today can be categorized into seven different dynamic movement which are listed below:
"Gait (walking / running pattern)
Due to the SAID principle (specific adaptation to imposed claims), you must emphasize developing balance in the movement patterns that are most specific and most challenging to yourself. Once you have mastered dynamic stability, or balance and orientation of the body segments while performing the movements most challenging to them and specific to their environment, you can begin to make the movements more challenging by decreasing base of support or increasing the complexity of an exercise . For example, a squat can be progressed to squat with a weight shift, as necessary to get into and out of a car. Next we can move to single leg squats.
While focusing on the primary objective, we can incorporate the use of apparatus to challenge the neuromuscular system on a more global level. For example, we can use the Swiss ball, which is a mobile structure with a small base of support that moves very quickly in response to any change in the position of your center of gravity. You can also incorporate the use of apparatus to challenge the neuromuscular system on a more global level. For example, you can use the Swiss ball, which is a mobile structure with a small base of support that moves very quickly in response to any change in the position of your center of gravity.
Once you can ideally stabilize in the environment and / or move then can you focus on increasing muscular performance or aesthetic look. This may seem a long approach to achieve what on the similar result, remember true change of any type takes time, dedication and persistent effort. If this method means that it takes longer to get there, without the structural problems such as torn muscles, injured joints etc … is not it worth the sacrifice, after all each journey begins with a small step.