Stabilisation Endurance Training. Have you heard of it? I certainly hadn’t before joining the fitness industry as, from my experience, it rarely gets mentioned. Everyone is so focused on ‘lifting heavy’ and that to be ‘strong’ you need to up the weights. Well what if your body is not functioning as it should, the correct muscles aren’t working the way they should, your form is then compromised and you end up injuring yourself. Now you can’t train anyway.
The main goal of this type of training is to ensure you have a strong structural base to start from when exercising. If you have a strong base, then you are more likely to achieve your fitness goals safely by stabilising the joints and maintaining optimal posture.
This is achieved through high repetitions at a slower controlled tempo where the progression is proprioceptive rather than packing on the KGs i.e. it challenges your balance. Think about doing a push up on a Bosu ball. It is through this unstable base that your body is forced to maintain optimal posture, otherwise you’d just fall to one side. Greater activation from the nervous system and muscles is required to stabilise the body and keep you in correct alignment.
Does this mean you don’t get a decent workout? Of course not. It’s tough. This type of muscular endurance training is also great for reducing body fat as it’s typically done in a circuit fashion with minimal rest, high reps and at a slower pace. The pace is ‘4-2-1’ which means 4 seconds on the eccentric contraction (or typically lowering phase), 2 seconds for the hold and 1 second for the concentric contraction (or the push phase). If you add all this together, your ‘time under tension’ is much higher than bashing out 5 reps of a 30kg overhead squat as quickly as possible which probably led to your herniated disc because you did it with bad form. Now I’m not saying that this shouldn’t be a goal – the Overhead Squat, not the herniated disc – but there is a safe progressive way to train and starting with Stablisation Endurance should be the starting point and reverted back to whenever you feel your body is out of kilter. As a mum, my body definitely goes through phases of muscular and postural imbalances. It’s hard not to when you are regularly holding a 13kg toddler on one hip, picking her up with bad form etc. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to perfect your lifting technique when you are being screamed at.
So ladies, give it some thought, especially you mamas who are wanting to get into that CrossFit gym 4 weeks after giving birth. I can help you get there, eventually, but I must emphasise the importance of safe progressive training. If you have any training questions please get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.
Source: NASM® OPT Model