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POSTURAL STABILITY AND EXERCISE TECHNIQUE

(Part one)
By
Mark McKean
Director - Fitness Direct Consultants & Trainers

Exercise technique has long been one of the more difficult aspects to
teach accurately in a fitness centre. Limited contact time and the pressure
to achieve results with clients have often forced instructors and trainers to
progress clients programs more quickly than is ideal. This accelerated
progression is often detrimental to the client's performance of specific
exercises or movement patterns and consequently achieving the desired
results.

Teaching clients to achieve good postural stability in the early phases of

Here are some common indications of problems with postural stability and muscle balance.it is shown that the perceived relation of the visual world to the vertical is exclusively determined by sense organs in the head.  Inability to transfer strength and power to the limbs  Lack of improvement in training. shoulder. This is taught initially with the trunk remaining still. correction of technique and difficulty in learning a new skill.Carl Lewis was able to maintain his technique and control his movements to effectively have a smaller reduction is speed. The limbs should be able to move through normal dynamic range without altering the stability of the trunk. position of shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle tilt. performance. Clients can often hold a position isometrically. Once static stability is achieved then dynamic stability needs to be taught. This ability was due in part to the excellent dynamic stability and control he could sustain even while his body was being propelled along at approximately 37 km/hr. neck and lower back  Inability to maintain good form during an exercise eg knees collapsing medially during squats. but ask them to move and they lose stability immediately. his legs and arms are moving at incredible speeds whilst the trunk remained in a very erect and stable position. or step ups  Change in spinal alignment.  Phasic muscles tight from attempting to stabilise the joint when tonic muscles are unable to do their job.. gained by sense organs in the head…. Stability is derived from the trunk and all the muscles that hold the trunk in its ideal or normal position. Research by Mittelstaedt uncovered new Graviceptors situated in the trunk.  Injury or recurring problems Understanding postural stability or core stability is the next step you need to make as an instructor or trainer. "Postural information is to a considerable extent.rehabilitation programs are generally based around the correction of these problems even if you don’t appreciate it at the time. Eg Upper Traps  Instability of hip. whereas body posture is also directly measured by recently .who ever slows down the least wins . If you have seen him sprint. recognised as one of the most technically correct sprinters of the modern era. Think of Carl Lewis. As sprinting is basically a sport of deceleration .

Eg shoulder and neck  Integrate breathing with all exercises . isometric abdominal exercises.  Establish a neutral spine first. we need to be able to program exercises to enhance the ability of the postural stabilisers to control the position of the trunk in both static and dynamic positions. Here are some guidelines for training postural stabilisers. as instructors and trainers we need to be aware of not only the position of the head.discovered graviceptors in the human trunk" These proprioceptors seem to mediate the perception of the position of the trunk indirectly to posture. If you are doing the exercise in a supine or prone position then establish a 'pressure pattern' on the floor or bench on which you are lying. Examples of this would be lying leg curls. Educate clients to adjust trunk position and become aware of the position of the trunk and the use of its stabilisers during each exercise. as this is what most of us use to adjust position. These muscles include -  Abdominals and Pelvic Floor  Erector Spinae and Multifidus  Latissimus Dorsi and Serratus Anterior  Rhomboids and Lower Trapezius  Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus and external hip rotators  Quadratus Lumborum Training postural stabilisers requires patience on your part as an instructor or trainer. As trainers and instructors. etc these exercises are renowned for changes in spinal position. but also of the trunk. This tells us that the trunk in particular has proprioceptors that indicate its position to the rest of the body thus assisting it with adjustments in various positions.  Even when doing a lower body exercise ensure the upper body remains in good postural positions. When teaching exercises for stability. You need to convince the client (and yourself) of its importance and be prepared to work at it over the first few months of training. This allows you to achieve good position prior to the exercise and the 'pressure pattern' will indicate changes in the normal or neutral position during the exercise. Good communication is critical and lots of positive reinforcement is needed. If the exercise is done standing then look for neutral position of the hips.

W. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral reviews.SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF HUMAN MOTION. REFERENCES  Floyd.  Establish a sequence of contraction of stabilisers prior to each exercise until it becomes habitual. Brown & Benchmark Publishers USA  Mittelstaedt. USA. If you have a client who has reached a plateau or who is not getting over an injury this type of training can be just the change they need to take that next step.. The main concept to grasp as an instructor or trainer is one of time.  K. 1997. & Thompson. . Luttgens & N. 22(4):473-478. C. WCB/McGraw-Hill.  Teach the muscles that move the limbs to contract without changing the position of the trunk. 1998 July. R. T. KINESIOLOGY . Each person will take a different amount of time to learn these patterns. Hamilton. Partial movements are often required prior to full range if the person is having difficulty with stabilising the position for the exercise. Don't just limit this type of training to new clients. H. Then teach them to move the limbs whilst the trunk is moving yet remaining stable. Teach control of movement before you increase the resistance or level of difficulty of the exercise. the results at the end are fantastic. Be prepared to spend the time with them. (1998) MANUAL OF STRUCTURAL KINESIOLOGY 13TH EDITION. "ORIGIN AND PROCESSING OF POSTURAL INFORMATION(REVIEW)".