Stabilization training has changed my life. It has allowed me to continue to do the things I love doing, at a pretty high level, into my 50’s. For years I resisted it, mainly because it didn’t seem as cool at weighted pull-ups, push-up contests, climbing mountains or running through the wilderness. Injuries forced me to change my outlook and now, over halfway to the century mark, I’m functionally stronger than I’ve ever been.
For most of you, a proper stabilization training protocol will change your life too. It will force you to move more biomechanically efficient, greatly reducing your chances of injury and helping you age more gracefully. It will also free your larger muscles (prime movers) to work the way they should, promoting a capacity for greater fitness gains and quicker body composition changes. Its effects on your body are less obvious when you do them. The exercises might seem more tedious than simply sweating until failure, but the improvements you’ll make it you employ stabilization as a part of your exercise program are almost immeasurable.
There’s a reason that physical therapists have to go to school for years and year as opposed to just taking a weekend seminar. They have to understand not only how the body works when healthy, but what to do with it when it’s broken. We are complex organisms. You can’t learn this stuff in a weekend. A fusion of athletic training with physical therapy has created a new field (still part of PT), called prehab. It’s how to build you body so that it doesn’t break down in the first place.
If you’ve done P90X2 you’ve seen prehab at work. It’s front and center in the program. The long “warm-ups” (which are more like mini workouts) are what a good physical therapist would design to have your muscles firing in harmony before you begin your hardest efforts. All of the instability of X2 is prehab as well. It forces your stabilizer muscles to fire in conjunction with your prime mover (big sexy) muscles, both forcing less strain on joint and connective tissues and allowing your body to do its job more effectively.
X2 is an entire program. It’s finale is an integration phase, where functional strength gains made in the first two phases get funneled into pure performance by use of a different protocol, post-activation potentiation. But that beyond the scope of today’s post. Since it’s about to launch, it’s worth noting that P90X3 follows this process as well.
When I’m “in-season” (spending most of my time doing sports instead of training for them), my hard efforts are sports specific, so I’m not doing P90X2’s workouts. It’s still vital to continue with stabilization training in order to keep your muscular strength balanced, which you can do in very little time.
What I do varies, depending on if I’m dealing with any current nagging injuries (most in which, in my case, are things that happened well before I began stabilization training). As is the case with any aged athlete, or just about any person, time comes with some chronically bad areas. These tend to radiate from the hips or shoulders, where imbalances will radiate to the extremities. If my training is upper body focused I do the workout in the link below once or twice per week, or incorporate its exercises into my general training.
When I’m running, I always do my plantar fasciitis work.
When climbing, I do the rice bucket workout.
There are more but that’s all the vids I’ve got today. It’s important to note that you don’t hav to do all of these all the time. If you can hit your strength benchmarks (discussed in the One Workout… article) you can cut back. Or, if you’re the type who doesn’t want to bother with all this thinking, you can just do a round of P90X2 once or twice a year, which will give you a foundation like Mt Rushmore.
pic: my friend alice, whom i met a dozen years ago when we were teammates in an adventure race. stable as a statue, which leads to incredible athleticism. in addition to being an expert rock climber, black belt in tai kwon do, diver, triathlete, and professional dancer and stuntwoman, tony horton says, “you can’t stump her. show her a move and she comes back the next day and is doing it better than you!”
Now let’s do the numbers…
Beachbody Workout of the Day
Insanity: Max Recovery – A really hard “recovery” workout, it was just what I needed to get back in the game.
Synopsis – The challenge hit its Rubicon over the weekend. Rugged, rugged, week (more on this tomorrow). In theory it gets easier from here. Less travel, more big training days, fewer huge days in general. Today was recovering from a weekend where the tank was emptied.
Reading & questions answered: /2809 (53/day) – 29 & 144 (337 questions and 1,846 pages), Exercise Physiology, The Charlie Francis Training System, Last Attempt – I have books in different places, cars, etc, and try and read whenever I have a break or down time.
Servings of Shakeology: /53 – 1(35) – w/ water
Days of Ultimate Reset: /5.3 0(0)
Days taking supplements: /53 – 1(35)
Days of no alcohol: /53 – 1(31)****
Days of no meat: /53 – 1(35)
Coffee Cycles (more on this later): /5.3 – round 4.
King Pin fritters: /5 0(0)
Beachbody workouts: /53 –2(35)
Push-ups: /5300 – 100(3,020)
Jumping jacks: /5300 – 00(3,000)
Leg lifts: /5300 – 00(2670)
Crunches: /5300 – 00(2790)
Ab Ripper X Moves: /5300 – 100(3050)
Beast back day: /53,000 lbs. 0(54,000)
Beast chest day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000)
Beast shoulder day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000)
Beast leg day: /53,000 lbs.
Beast arm day: /53,000 lbs. 0(53,000)
P90X2 functional warm-up: /53 – 1(33)
Running drills: /53 – 2(31)
Neuro-integrating stretching: /53 – 2(32)
Iron Mind gripper and extensor band reps: /10600 400(6200)
Breath hold sessions: /53 – 2(32)
Stabilizer sessions: /53 – 2(32)
Internal Organ Training: /53 – 2(33)
5.11 Climbs: /5 0(4) 
5.12 Climbs: /3 0(1) 
5.11 Boulder transverses: /5 – 0(5)
5.12 Boulder transverses: /3 – 0(2)
Campus board movements: /530 – 00(471)
Climb-specific pull-ups: /530 – 00(275)
Cycling on road bike: /53 miles 30(30) 
Cycling on mountain bike: /53 miles 0(38) 
Cycling on cyclocross bike: /53 miles 0(46)
Cycling on time trial bike: /53 miles 0(20)
Cycling on fixed gear bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Cycling on single speed bike: /53 miles 0 (51) 
Cycling on tandem bike: /53 miles 0(0)
Hiking: /53 miles –4(50) 
Running: /53 miles 4(40)
30 minutes of rowing: /5 times 1(3)
30 minutes of elliptical: /5 times 1(2)
30 minutes of swimming: /5 times 0(0)Hours of travel 8 (40))
Tasks for his wife: /53 – 2(34)
Chores around the house: /53 – 4(36)
Tasks for his dogs: /53 – dogs are basically sidekicks so this one’s a freebie
Blog posts: /53 – 1 (36)
Team Beachbody Instructional Videos: /5 0(0)
Team Beachbody Video Chat /5 0(5)
Days keeping these stats: /53 – 1(35)
A Few Challenges of Yore