What is functional Stability? I'd define it as the ability to perform work while maintaining a neutral joint position. Ok, sounds great but what the heck does that mean? Well, let's see..... Let's try a little self-check: Do you have unexplained low back, neck, shoulder, knee or hip pain? If you answered yes, then you are not functionally stable! If you can't remember an event that caused your pain then there is something about your movement pattern, stabilization, that is flawed. You have dysfunctional movement stemming from improper stabilization patterns that have culminated in pain!
So how can you tell? It starts with breathing patterns, then we go to the abdominals and no I'm not looking at your six-pack or lack thereof. Matter of fact I'd say those of you that have a six or 8-pack of abdominals are just as dysfunctional as those without! Why is that, you may ask! That's because they aren't the abs that stabilize the spine. The Transverse Abdominals are the ones that I'm concerned with. Their ability to resist expansion in all directions while inhaling and maintain tension during the exhale is what provides core stability more than any other abdominals muscle. The Diaphram is #1 followed closely by transverse abdominals. The deeper the muscle is the more stability it's designed for and the more superficial muscle the more its meant to perform gross movement or locomotion.
So what does this have to do with my shoulders, hips, or knees? When the shoulder, knee or hip move they require a stable foundation to move properly, maintaining optimal joint centration during movement. When the abdominal area of the body is properly stabilized (appropriate activation of the diaphragm and Transverse abdominals) the muscles designed to move the extremities are now required to work overtime to both move the joint AAAND stabilize it on the torso, which is inherently unstable at this point. These muscles are terrible at stability, which results in faulty movement and eventual pain due to premature joint deterioration.
For those of you not in pain at the moment and curious about your stabilization mechanisms please take advantage of our free Functional Movement Screen, offered for a limited time. There is no obligation for care with this screen. Its simply offered as an education tool so you can be aware of where you are and what you may need to change going forward. IT only takes 15 minutes and is a brilliant tool for establishing your movement I.Q..