February 18, 2018

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Stability vs. Mobility: What’s the Difference?

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To borrow from the late efficiency expert Stephen Covey, no one ever plans to fail, they simply fail to plan. While originally offered as one of his legendary Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this concept also applies directly to exercise; specifically, how to design an exercise program. Without proper planning and preparation to enhance one’s quality of movement, injuries become more likely. Adding exercises to improve the relationship between stability and mobility in the body is one of the best ways to help your clients plan for success when exercising or participating in their favorite physical activities. Conversely, exercises that focus solely on isolated muscle actions could be setting them up for failure.

The ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) Model provides a systemic approach for designing a progressively challenging exercise program. The ACE IFT Model has two specific components: Cardiovascular Exercise and Functional Movement and Resistance Training. Each component features four levels of progression based on exercise intensity and the amount of stress placed on the body. The four phases for Functional Movement and Resistance training are: (1) Stability and Mobility, (2) Movement Training, (3) Load Training and (4) Performance Training.

While cardiovascular exercise is indeed important, doing exercises that can establish optimal mobility and stability relationships in the body is essential for staying injury-free and experiencing long-term success. Here are six things you should know about the stability and mobility relationships in the body, along with a few exercises that can help your clients improve their movement skills while also reducing their risk of experiencing an injury.

1. The human body is designed to move, and efficient movement involves numerous muscles and joints working together simultaneously.

Exercise should be a function of numerous muscles working together to produce efficient movement patterns, as opposed to performing separate, discrete muscle actions. Improving movement skill requires using exercise to integrate how the central nervous system (CNS) receives sensory input from the environment with how the muscular system works to produce the appropriate motor response for movement. Optimum movement performance in the body is based on the synergistic function of mobility and stability.

2. When one part of the body moves, it can influence motion at all other parts of the body.

The only tissues that can produce such responsiveness is the fascia and elastic connective tissue, which surrounds every muscle fiber. A well-designed exercise program can enhance the elasticity and structural integrity

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