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.

After my children were born, I was completely out of shape. I had been active before my first pregnancy in 2008. I saw a post on social media about a charity event that was hosted at the gym. It prompted me to check out the JKC website. I was immediately impressed by the professional content and decided to give it a try. The professionally crafted and uniquely tailored work outs, as well as the sense of accountability and commitment that they foster. I have not missed a workout since joining – contrary to other experiences I have had when purchasing gym memberships. The flexibility of booking and rescheduling workouts, made easy by an online app, also contributed to my success in meeting my fitness goals.

I enjoy every session, working out with Jon, Thomas and Craig, as well as the “JKC Community”. Anytime someone achieves a personal best, I enjoy the celebration and support everyone gives each other. For me, I fondly remember achieving personal bests on bench press, chin ups and the sled push, in particular.

I originally joined JKC because I was anxious about passing out and embarrassing myself since I hadn’t weight trained in a while and I’d hoped to find somewhere sympathetic. My husband @terry_hussey had been training at JKC and his success there made me miss the achievement you feel from a good workout. I went to meet Jon and immediately knew it was going to be a safe space for me. I was never judged for the fears I had and where I was starting from. Jon and Thomas made sure to check on me often, and found a way to challenge me but make me feel secure at the same time, and Terry and I were able to book sessions together, so working out became a shared win for us!

JKC is different from other gyms because of the personal growth you have outside JKC (the sessions inside JKC creates a great positive feedback loop!). You gain self confidence, learn how to show up for yourself, meet a community of newfound friends, and get the support of your trainers who are behind you 100%. I’ve left a scattered workout so proud of myself I’ve honestly shed a tear in the car on the drive home. JKC is the mental health relief valve I need to stay positive, and keep my anxiety and health related fears at bay.

I started strength training at JKC in the Spring of 2021. I am in my 60’s but happy to say I feel much younger since joining this gym. I joined JKC upon the advice of a doctor. I went through some difficult medical issues last year, that’s when one of my doctors recommended strength training at JKC. I have been physically active most of my adult life but mainly running and completed many road races as I am a distance runner. Strength training has definitely benefited me by increasing my stamina and energy. It sure has enhanced my recovery over the past year. I have the added benefit of becoming a stronger runner as well.

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.

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.

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