JKConditioning T-shirtUnstable surface training has become a common sight in the strength and conditioning realm. With the popular concept of core stability, you see more and more runners training on exercise balls, Bosu balance trainers and balance discs. Runners often mistakenly believe that this type of training will incorporate greater core activation while simultaneously developing strength. Unstable-surface training has been used successfully to rehabilitate injuries, such as the common ankle sprain, but does this type of training also benefit the healthy runner?

Stable vs. Unstable

 
Runners who strength train using a combination of resistance training, core stability exercises and plyometrics (jumps) have shown improvements in running economy, race performance and a reduced injury risk.

But not all exercises are equal. Free weight exercises performed on a stable surface rather than an unstable one appear to be more transferable to athletic performance, as trunk activation in stability ball exercises may not provide enough stimulus to increase muscular strength. One study found that after six weeks of stability ball training, subjects’ core stability improved, but running performance – as measured by V02 Max, velocity at V02 Max and running economy – showed no statistically significant changes. Other studies have shown that leg exercises performed on unstable surfaces lead to a reduction in force output, rate of force development and range of motion. In terms of stimulating strength gains, there doesn’t seem to be a benefit for a healthy runner to perform resistance exercises on unstable surfaces.

When to Wobble

 
If you’re suffering a lower limb injury, strength training on an unstable surface can help. But if you’re healthy, focus primarily on free weight exercises and plyometric drills to develop strength, power and core stability. To further reduce injury risk, add in balance board exercises to your existing strength-training program, but the focus should be on stable-surface multi-joint exercises that work multiple muscle groups. You can challenge core stability by holding one dumbbell on your shoulder instead of holding two to at your sides while you lunge.

To read the rest of the article, please go to Canadian Running HERE.

JKC was recommended by a previous trainer who followed Jon online. He thought Jon’s approach to training was excellent. JKC employs well educated trainers who are very particular about technique and form. I have never injured myself because the trainers know what they are doing. They can always answer any questions I ask about my training. As well the trainers are friendly contributing to a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the gym.

I saw an article in Men’s Journal that quoted Jon in about 2018 while traveling and was impressed that someone in St. John’s made that international magazine.  Jon spoke about an exercise called the Farmer’s Walk and I started working that into my routine at the YMCA. I tore that article out of the magazine and kept it, meaning to make contact, but got busy. Then I had lunch with an old friend Bruce Dyke. I hadn’t seen Bruce for a while and I remarked that he looked super healthy and fit. He told me about his, and his son Cas’, experience at JKC and then I remembered the Men’s Journal article! No coincidences!

The experience is unique on many levels – great people, camaraderie, passion, purpose, and dedication. Jon and Thomas are attentive, precise and understanding.  Their teaching has unlocked a new perspective for me with what our bodies are capable of. I still appreciate the YMCA, wonderful place, but I can’t imagine working out without Jon and Thomas now.

JKC is different from other gyms/fitness regimes I have tried in the past because of my level of comfort with the facility and other JKC clients and the amount of knowledge both Jon and Thomas demonstrate through personal attention to form, core development and overall strength is outstanding. JKC is by far the best training hands on attention that I’ve experienced period and I have experienced many over a lifetime of activity and playing various sports. The facility has everything you require plus, as you will learn there are many ways to use every piece of equipment and Jon and Thomas are very creative! There are many age groups and professions who attend this gym from elite athlete’s to the rest of us and the casual but focused atmosphere in the gym makes each visit interesting, friendly and challenging at all levels.

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

I joined JKC because I wanted to better care for my physical health, but didn’t really know how, or where, to begin.  Seeking help from a trainer seemed like a wise choice, and I had heard great things about the staff at JKC. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate exercising.  So, I’ve only ever tried sticking with a gym routine twice in my life.  Each experience consisted of me wandering around, not knowing what to do, and settling for an elliptical machine or something else that seemed comfortable and non-threatening.  Each session was the same, and I felt like I was wasting my time.

Each session at JKC, however, is specifically crafted for me.  I don’t have to think about what to do, because I’m told what to do.  I don’t have to worry about how to do things properly, because I’m shown (sometimes multiple times!) how to accomplish each task.  I don’t have to be concerned about slipping into a comfortable routine, because Jon and Thomas won’t let that happen.

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