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Stability is NOT the Same as Strength

Recently, I was speaking with an athlete about the back pain they experience with a specific exercise. I suggested adding drills to improve their core stability and received a very familiar response. “I have a very strong core” the athlete told me. “Unfortunately,” I explained, “strength is not the same as stability, and your back doesn’t care how strong your core is if it’s not stable.”

With the 2017 CrossFit Open behind us, many of us will start a new training cycle with an eye on improving upon the weakness exposed by the Open WODs. This week, I want to tell you why you should consider stability training to target those weaknesses and how you can do it.

What is stability?

Stability is a product of the timing of muscular contractions. It is your ability to react to a stimulus by coordinating the contraction of the appropriate muscles required in a given movement. In the case of CrossFit athletes, this typically refers to your ability to respond to a moving weight, either your bodyweight or an external weight, such as a barbell or kettlebell.

Why should you improve your stability?

Safety First!

First and foremost, improving your stability will reduce your risk of injuries. Improving stability, especially in regions prone to injury like your core or your shoulders, will teach your body to adapt to changing stimulus and keep you safe. Less time spent on your therapist's table means more time spent training.

Faster, Higher, Stronger. . .

Improving your stability improves the efficiency of your movements. In other words, greater stability will allow to to lift more, move faster, jump higher, etc, making you more powerful and your WODs more effective.

How can you improve stability?

Core Stability Tips

Yoke Walks
  • Add exercises that challenge you to maintain a neutral spine posture while moving:

  • Try strongman exercises like farmer’s carries and yoke walks

  • Don’t be afraid to go heavy on these (but please be safe)

  • For added intensity hold an overhead position with kettlebells while walking or lunging.

  • You should be doing some core stability training 2-3 times each week minimum.

Shoulder Stability Tips

  • Look at exercises that mimic positions you struggle with:

  • Have difficulty in the front rack? Practice weighted holds & carries in the front rack

  • Have difficulty locking out? Practice overhead walking lunges or turkish get-ups. I can hear your groans from here but, trust me, they’ll work

Challenging your stability is simple and will have a huge impact on your training!

Contact Dr. Dwayne to learn more ways to challenge stability in your training

  • Visit our clinics at CrossFit Connection and/or CrossFit Streets

  • Email

  • Follow us on facebook, Instagram or Twitter

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