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Stability before load

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A fundamental principle that slowly gets left behind when applying training methods & progressing through athletic development or rehab. Stability plays an inaugural role in the ability to generate power & express strength. It is the linchpin (along with mobility & correct movement patterns, but for this we will purely discuss stability) behind progression.


An analogy I like to use is building a house on a jumping castle. While the foundation may be faster to assemble, cheaper & easier, it most definitely is not the best option to build a house on for many reasons. The same can be said about our bodies, we would not (or shouldn’t) put external loads of varying degrees through our body if we are deficient in the ability to stabilize that external load or force.

Let’s look at the squat for example. Our only point of contact with the ground is our feet, an area of the body comprising of 26 bones, 30 joints, & more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments. There is a lot going on in our feet. Attached to the feet are obviously the legs, into the hips, into the back & so forth. We can then start to understand that what happens at the feet, can play a role & toll on the entire body.


Stability is the resistance to a change in the body’s acceleration, or the resistance to a disturbance of the body’s equilibrium. Balance within a muscle group or kinetic chain & alignment of the skeletal system affect the bodies equilibrium & balance.

Knowing this, we can therefore correlate a disturbance of the body’s equilibrium being an external force or load (athletic movement, change of direction, external forces, weight etc.). We also know that inadequate ability to resist disturbances can lead to connective tissue, muscles & joints etc. being placed in compromising positions, this is where injury occurs.


If we continue to look at the squat as an example, we can now see that creating adequate stability at the foot, can therefore dictate what is to occur further up the body. A strong, planted, rigid, sturdy, mobile & stable foot allows for the body to resist changes in resistance, acceleration & direction without compromising the integrity of the remainder of the body.

Practicing stability should be prioritized just as much as load itself, as stability can & will remain a rev limiter to the force & power the body is able to generate.


“Enhancing your sense of control & balance prepares our bodies for external forces, injuries don’t usually occur due to strength deficits, but instead are due to insufficient control of the strength we do have. This lack of balance & control leads to an accumulation of micro trauma that adds up & develops in to the aches & pains of injury.” Dr Aaron Horschig, PT, DPT, CSCS, USAW

If pain or injuries are recurring, rehab is not progressing or athletic development hits a plateau, reach for the basics & prioritize perfecting & progressing them. Stability, mobility, bracing & breathing can be swept under the carpet in the big picture of progression, though they are underlying fundamentals of progression, don’t ignore or neglect them.


“You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe”