What else do you need to know?
You may be asking the question, “what is stability?” Or perhaps, “is there a difference between “stability” and “strength”?
The simple answer is yes. And the difference, which many athletes and coaches confuse or simply may not quite fully understand, is critical for determining how you’re going to approach your training, or whether the training you do will help you improve. After all, lots of athletes “do” core and hip training the wrong way and end up not benefiting at all from their investment of time and energy.
And that sucks.
So, what are the differences?
- Stability, sometimes referred to as motor control in some clinical and training circles, is neurological. It’s in the brain and within the joints themselves. Training stability is essentially “brain training.”
- Strength is simply the ability for muscle and connective tissue (or tissues) to generate force. While strength begins at the level of your nervous system (think of it as simple coordination first), it’s primarily about “muscle adaptation and growth.” Training strength means forcing recruitment of increasing numbers of motor units within muscle tissue, forcing the body to adapt and get stronger due to increased demands on the tissue.
We create stability in our “core” from one shoulder to the opposite hip. The term often used to describe this is the “Serape Effect.”
Think of it this way: as was stated earlier, your core is your anchor for the arms and legs. The stiffness and integration from your core as your anchor or foundation, that develops properly from appropriate training, comes from the diagonal (and spiral) orientation of the tissues from one hip to the opposite shoulder.
This Serape Effect is the basis for the hip power that helps you run strong and pedal strong. It all begins when we are infants, learning that basic cross-crawl coordination that allows us to first roll, then crawl, and finally walk.
Two things that make all the difference
When you understand this concept (that stability is neurological – it’s in your brain and within the joints), and that all core stability training is first and foremost, brain and joint training, then you can easily see when doing some “core” training, how important these two things might be:
1. You need to start at the beginning. You need to master the first steps, first. Then you’re ready to move on and progress to something more challenging. (You wouldn’t attempt calculus before you mastered arithmetic, would you?)
2. You should perform each phase of any of the movements we’ll do in this program as “perfectly” as you can. Think of it this way: to change behavior (in this case, your stability), you must change the neural engram or existing patterning in the brain.
You need a little movement “amnesia” and “re-programming.” That can only happen successfully when the new, more desirable pattern is performed as well as it can be, at a level that is attainable.
Let me say it again: that can only happen successfully when the new, more desirable pattern is performed as well as it can be, at a level that is attainable. I think it was the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, who said, and I quote: “Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.”
Here’s one more very important concept to understand:
The “quality” of the patterns you will practice and develop WILL BE the direct result of the quality of your joint articulation and range of motion. Poor joint range of motion = poor patterns.
Think of it this way: your joints such as the hips, shoulders, and spine, are the tools you will use to build the patterns that will create the durability and strength you desire.
So, if you have some limitations in mobility (or as I like to think of them, “areas of opportunity”), then you will want to address those with the program, RESTORE: The Hips Program-Mobility.
Trust me when I say, nothing is more important than having the best tools you can for the job at hand. In the case of our body and athletic performance, it is about the joints first and foremost!