Fitness does not need to be complicated but it does need to challenge you. That is unless your Heart Rate Variability is telling you that today needs to be a recovery day or a you-can-workout-but-dial-down-your-intensity type of day.
My body typically doesn't want to train at really high intensities in the winter seasons. So I use the colder months to hone in on a lot of core strength and stability training so when the weather gets nicer and there is more light each day, I am ready to roll. Specifically what I focus on in my strength training routines is stabilization training.
At some point, all athletes, and training individuals in general, should circle back to stabilization training for some length of their programming to keep the mortar (small muscles, proprioceptors, etc.) as strong as your bricks (big muscles and skeletal structure) and supported WELL.
The performance athletes I train and coach typically experience stabilization training in their pre-season to minimize injury and maximize success in their sport. For the non-athlete or amateur athlete, I recommend stabilization training occur every 3-4 months for a one month phase of training.
Stabilization is such an important aspect of movement NOT just training. In fact, I believe its impact is so much that my good friend Laura Toth who is an amazing kinesiotherapist, fellow anatomy geek, personal trainer, and massage therapist, and I partnered up to create a program related to this exact topic. It’s going to be awesome and like nothing you have ever seen. Stay tuned for more on that baby!
Stabilization training consists of exercises that demand your body to work more on creating and maintaining control and performance in an unstable environment. An unstable environment could be you standing on one foot or using one arm in a dumbbell exercise instead of two. Anything that attempts to pull you off-center or balance such as a Bosu or stability ball is also a great option to include in stabilization training exercises.
This exercise in the video below is considered a total body stabilization exercise. I was only using a 5lb. dumbbell to do the exercise but I had not doing ANY stabilization training in almost 6 months before filming this video so my body was not needing more weight so much as it was needing more training in the unstable environment that my one legged balance provided it hence why I almost fell over LOL! The first set is always wonky but try knocking out 3 sets of 10 reps on each side and see how you do.
Here’s a recent total body workout I did to give you an idea of what a complete workout like this looks including warm-up and cool-down:
Warm-Up: 2 sets 10 Body Squats 10 Side Planks with top leg lift 10 Hip Swings 10 Lateral Hip Swings 10 Kneeling Lunge Wood Chops
Core Stabilization Circuit: 3 sets Turkish Get-Ups x 2 R/L
Single-Leg Hip Bridges on the Bosu x 8 R/L
SB Pikes x 12
Dead Bugs x 12 R/L
Total Body Stabilization Circuit: 3 sets Single-Leg Squat Touchdowns on balance pad x 10 R/L Single-Leg Lateral Cone Hops x 10 R/L Reverse Lunge to Balance on half foam roller into 1-Arm Cable Row x 8 R/L KB 1-arm Overhead Press x 6 R/L Palloff Cable Chest Press x 10 R/L Alternating Medicine Ball Push-ups x 10
Cool Down: 1 set x 30 sec R/L SMR with lacrosse ball for glutes SMR with lacrosse ball for lats Half-roller calf stretch Pec stretch with band
Do you include stabilization training routinely in your training program? Let me know in a comment below what your top 1-2 exercises you perform are, I’d love to know!