Stability is the first component of any good strength training program. I know it doesn’t seem important, but as we age, nothing is more important than stability. Take a look at someone who has lost stability. There steps become shorter, they need help standing up and sitting down or maybe getting on and off the floor. They just don’t get around as well as they used to, but that’s not going to matter to you right now. Let’s talk about something more practical for right now.
If you’ve ever had an injury in a particular joint, you have probably lost some stability in that joint. Don’t believe me? Try this out. If you have sprained an ankle in the past, try standing on it with one leg with your eyes closed. See how long you can last and compare it to your other leg. The ankle you injured in the past has lost some stability. Some muscles are now weaker and others are stronger. But the result is an unstable joint that will affect you a lot more later on in life if you don’t work on it. Have you hurt one of your shoulders in the past? Try performing a pushup or a chest press and see if your joints are lined up evenly on both sides. Odds are, they aren’t. Imbalance between joints should be a warning light of a potential injury. The best thing you can do is begin a stability phase of strength training.
A stability phase of strength training has many benefits. It raises the heart rate, raises the number of calories burned, increases metabolism, increase blood flow, and helps you lose body fat faster.
Here are some basics of a stability phase that you need to know:
- You should do between 12-20 repetitions
- You should complete at least 1-3 sets
- Each repetition should last 8 seconds
- Your set should last between 96 and 160 seconds
A typical workout usually encompasses each of the major body part and at least one total body exercise. A total body exercise is one that uses all of the body parts at one time. One of my favorite total body stability exercises is a Single Leg Squat Touchdown with an Overhead Shoulder Press. It works the legs, glutes, abs, shoulders, and triceps. After that, just begin focusing on the various bodyparts: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Legs, Biceps, Triceps, and Abs. You can also use a variety of methods to work on stability:
- 1 leg
- Alternating Arms
- Stability Ball
- Airex Pad
- Bosu Ball
- Dyna Disk
So a sample workout might be like this:
Or it could look like this:
|1 Leg Squat Touchdown with Shoulder Press||2||15||4-2-2|
|Stability Ball Chest Press||2||15||4-2-2|
|1 Leg Lat Pulldown||2||15||4-2-2|
|1 Leg Stability Ball Shoulder Press||2||15||4-2-2|
|1 Leg Alternating Bicep Curls||2||15||4-2-2|
|1 Leg Alternating Tricep Kickbacks||2||15||4-2-2|
|1 Leg Romanian Deadlift||2||15||4-2-2|
|Stability Ball Crunches||2||15||4-2-2|
If you are either just beginning or re-starting your workout program, stability should be your first step. Contact me if you want to begin a program, but are unsure of what the right exercises for you will be.
If you’ve had injuries in the past, this may not work for you. A stability exercise for you will be different for someone that has not had an injury in the past. The workout above may be dangerous if you have had injuries in the past. Also, please don’t perform exercises without a clear understanding of how to perform them correctly. Consult with a fitness professional for instructions of how to do these exercises. And of course, make sure you have clearance from your physician before beginning any exercise program.