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 had spent a fair bit of time in gyms in my teens and twenties but I turned away from the gym to focus on activities that I enjoyed more. What keeps me at JKC is that I do really enjoy it. I always feel that I’ve accomplished something when I leave at the end of my workout. The environment is really positive and focused on challenging yourself whatever your level of comfort and fitness. I’ve also seen results that I’m really happy with; having someone who really knows what they’re talking about to guide your workouts makes them way more effective and focused than just “going to the gym”.

Shortly after I started at JKC, I sustained a fairly major injury that took me off my feet for several months. When I started to get back to activity, it was very difficult. Jon and Thomas worked hard to tailor my workouts to my goals and what I could do. With their help, I’ve been steadily building back strength and function.

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.

sumo deadlift

I had always wanted to start lifting weights and get stronger, but didn’t know where to start. I was looking not just for a gym, but for training on proper technique to prevent injury and a program designed for my specific goals. I also wanted a fun and supportive atmosphere to keep me coming back. JKC delivered on all of this and more.

Jon and Thomas have a wealth of knowledge that help their clients get the most out of their time in the gym. Programs are continuously modified to keep the workouts challenging. Even through everyone’s program is unique, you always have the coaches and other clients cheering you on and pushing you to achieve new bests.

I chose JKC because I row/coach teams in the St. John’s Regatta and was looking to add strength training to our program. My wife is also running friends with Julia, so I got to meet Jon a few times and heard lots of good things. I like JKC over other gyms because of the level coaching I receive and the gym atmosphere. The energy in the gym helps me through the tough workouts.

I started at JKC in January of 2014 and I’m 67 years old. When I had my Initial Assessment, I knew – almost immediately – that Jon knew what he was doing and what he was talking about. I was overweight, out of shape, and in serious need of someone, like Jon, who could get me back on a fitness/conditioning routine that suited me, my age, my less than acceptable physical condition, my sometimes intermittent RA, and my need for a structured, consistent and yet flexible training and conditioning program that would work for me.

Fundamentally, if I made a choice at all with respect to JKC – it was to continue to come back each week. I have not been in a lot of gyms. To be honest, they used to intimidate me. What makes JKC different is their approach to each and every one of their clients. Jon and Thomas – and now Craig – tailor each training regime to the particular needs of each client. That ensures that the training regime will suit each client upon the start of training and changes as the client improves. It adjusts for any physical setbacks such as injuries and it adjusts for success. It is just that simple.

It is also the consistent encouragement that comes from Jon, Thomas and Craig. That voice that comes to you while you are in the middle of a particularly difficult set – rear-foot elevated split squats comes to mind immediately – that says “good job” or “keep it up” or “just a couple more reps.” To know, in that moment, that you are not alone and the trainer is paying attention to what you are doing. That is priceless for me.

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