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.

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.

I’ve always been a gym rat, but was getting tired of the same ol’ routine. My better half was attending JKC and encouraged me to try it out. My favourite part of JKC is that is isn’t a gym – it’s a community. Jon and Thomas are awesome, and I love that every time I go I know who’s working out with me and we can socialize while working on our health. Everyone is supportive, encouraging and genuinely looks out for one another. It’s an upbeat and positive experience and I can honestly say that I look forward to each and every workout.

I have never previously seen the passion and level of care that Jon and Thomas bring to everyone who works out at JKC. Their knowledge, insight and skills are extraordinary, and they work with everyone individually to ensure the best possible results. The attention to detail and to every person’s specific requirements and goals, and the incredible, constant encouragement they provide, is, in my opinion, what truly distinguishes JKC from any other program in which I’ve participated. I am extremely pleased with the progress I’ve achieved thus far, and it’s largely attributable to Jon and Thomas and the approach they take to training and working with people.

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 am turning 67 next month and I started my journey with JKC in 2018. Seven years ago I experienced significant foot pain which had a negative impact on my day to day activities. I learned that issues in other parts of the body need to be addressed to achieve a positive result. My doctor (Dr. Jessica Wade) suggested, along with some other therapies, that I could  benefit from the conditioning JKC had to offer. I previously had not trained in any gym. I observed how many gyms operated and had a sense that JKC would be more my style: training in a small group setting, having such personal attention, and a program meeting my specific needs is fantastic! I love the atmosphere at the gym. Everyone is accepted and you feel supported and comfortable.

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