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The Importance of Stability in Weight Training

Posted by KinX Learning on July 21, 2017 . 0 Comments

Maintaining a stable (balanced) body is needed to ensure safety during execution as well as for getting the desired results. This is especially true when using free weights. With machine weights, when you assume the necessary position, there is little need to balance your body as you execute the exercise. (This is based on the premise that you are seated and the machines allow you to do the exercise correctly in this position).

For example, when doing an overhead press the muscles of the legs and trunk must contract to hold you in place. The trunk must be rigid to provide a stable base for effective contraction of the shoulder muscles. If not, any change in the balance of the weights overhead may make you lose your balance, which in turn could cause injury, especially if you cannot regain balance and lose control of the weights.

The basic principles of stability are simple: the larger the base of support, the greater your stability. This is why you should most often assume a position with the feet approximately shoulder width or wider. If you have your feet together you have a very small base of support, which will not give you the foundation needed for stability when doing heavy lifts and, especially, overhead lifts.

Another way of increasing stability is to bend your knees in order to lower your center of gravity (where your weight is concentrated). The lower your center of gravity, the more stable you become. You can see this when the athlete assumes a ready position or positions himself for execution of a specific skill.

For example, when doing shoulder (upper body) twisting, in order to prevent lower body movement and keep the spine vertical, it is important that you bend your knees to stabilize the lower body and hips so the spine does not fall out of alignment. This serves to limit the movement to the shoulders. The bent knee position also works to prevent knee injuries.

Foot placement also plays an important role. If your feet are parallel and shoulder width apart, the weight should be close to you or overhead. This is the preferred stance in most exercises because you have good stability in a left to right direction. In a stride position you get better balance in the anterior-posterior planes when the legs are in a forward-backward direction (one leg more forward than the other). This stance is best when doing exercises such as the cable overhead triceps press or overhead jerk. When lying on a bench always place the feet on the floor to increase sideward (lateral) stability. Keeping the feet on the bench is an unstable position especially when you use heavy weights and/or a barbell. It is even more important to keep the feet on the floor when doing explosive or throwing type actions.