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Why stabilization training is so important

Stabilization training should be the starting point and foundation of any workout plan. Stabilization is the ability to prevent unwanted motion or movement. I start all of my clients in a stabilization period for at least one month so I can build a strong baseline to begin with. I always like to correlate stabilization to building a house, you need to have a solid foundation, and framing before you can put up the walls and pretty paint. If you have a weak structure then the first gust of wind is going to knock you down.

The goals of stabilization are:

  • Improving muscular endurance

  • Enhancing joint stability

  • Increasing flexibility

  • Enhancing postural control

  • Improving neuromuscular efficiency (balance, stabilization, muscular coordination)

The training strategies are

  • Training in an unstable, yet controllable environment

  • Low loads and high reps

There are hundreds of ways you can train in the stabilization phase. For example if you want to do a bicep curl you would simply lift one leg off the ground. Once this becomes easy you can drop one of the weights and balance on one leg and use the opposite arm to curl the weight. If this is easy you can progress by standing on an unstable surface like a balance disk, BOSU ball, wobble board, or a foam pad. "Stabilization and neuromuscular efficiency can only be obtained by having the appropriate combination of proper alignment of the human movement system and the stabilization strength necessary to maintain that alignment. Research has shown that inefficient stabilization can negatively affect the way force is produced by the muscles, increase stress at the joints, overload the soft tissues, and, eventually, cause injury." (NASM Essentials of personal fitness training)

Stabilization training is critical in any training program and it is very important you start with stabilization training before you progress to a strength training or hypertrophy training phase. It is also important you cycle back through a stabilization phase periodically to give your body time to recover and get back to the basics.

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