We have all heard of ‘core stability’. Perhaps a term that is now overused and brings up images of planks and balancing on exercise balls. The stability of the ‘core’ is very important, however what is less targeted but just as important is stability at our joints. The body always has a want and need for stability at its joints, proximally (hips and shoulders) more than distally (knees and elbows) because if you don’t have control at the hips and shoulders, you are fighting a losing battle trying to stabilise the distal joints. Muscular control is a crucial component of injury prevention and is a key component of overall efficiency.
What gives us stability at these joints? Muscular control! If the muscles surrounding the joint aren’t doing their job, the body will recruit additional muscles to try and pick up the slack. This is where muscular imbalances and compensatory patterns arise. A prime example is the pelvis and the gluteal complex. One of the roles of the glutes is to ensure the pelvis stays level when shifting weight from side to side (walking/running). When the glutes aren’t doing their job, the body will begin to recruit secondary stabilising muscles to ensure the pelvis is stable. This might not be the end of the world in the short term or low intensity situations, but it is terribly inefficient and leads to imbalances.
Think of how many steps you take on a 10km run (approx. 11,000+) and now think about the importance of muscular control and proximal joint stability. 11,000 cycles of unnecessary muscular contraction and tension. What about a half or full marathon! You’re starting to see the picture. It’s so important to learn optimal muscular control to ensure stability and efficiency, especially if you are training or competing at long distances.
© Wellness Embodied 2019