While by far the easiest day in the rotation, day 3 is vital for both performance and non-performance. Stability work keeps injuries at bay but, if done correctly, will also free up your prime mover muscles to function more effectively. I dedicate my knowledge in this area to the late Kevin Brown, who taught me much more about stability training than I learned from books, classes, training rooms and medical offices.
He was an innovator in the field of “prehab”, which is addressing injuries before they happen. Sports programs that worked with him saw their non-contact injury rates mostly disappear. Most of his breakthroughs seem obvious once in practice, yet are overlooked by athletes the majority of the time. Over the years he would continually take something conventional and mildly effective and tinker with it until he found something more effective. Eventually he came up with a system that worked for any group of athletes no matter what their given sport.
While training with Kevin could get complex, the cornerstone of his system is simple. There are a few key movements he used that, when done regularly, keep your musculature balanced and greatly reduce the chances of injuring your knees and shoulders, the two hot spots in the athletic world. My stabilizer days feature these movements with a couple others adding for climbing specificity.
A series of four exercises, done in successive 45 second sets, which target the gluteus medius. The benchmark is 3:00 with 5 pounds. Hard to explain so you’ll have to wait for video.
The “my guys would rather get shot” exercise, again targeting the gluteus medius. Do 3 sets of 25 reps with a 10 second hold at the end. Again, you’re going to need video.
I do three sets of one exercise that targets the muscles of the rotator cuff region. It’s a standard move, sometimes called scarecrow, though I do it one arm at a time. I use both a theraband and a weight to keep the resistance constant throughout (the benchmark goal is 50 reps with 15lbs). The trick is that I push down on a stability ball with my elbow. This deactivates the deltoid muscles that tend to take over the movement, focusing the exercise onto the correct muscle group. Again, vids coming.
I do reverse write curls to work the extensor muscles in the forearm. 3 sets of 30.
The same bridge and plank series from the day before, but I’ll do three sets. The benchmarks are a 3 minute plank and 10 sets of one-legged bridge held for 20 seconds rotated back and forth.
Normally I add the exercise from the preceding day on stabilizer days as well.
I can mainly hit my benchmarks so I don’t always do these exercises. During this program, however, I will do them religiously and try and exceed all benchmarks. The stronger these muscles are the better and when you’re spending a lot of time doing other stuff it’s hard to focus on them. I find a few intense periods will give you some margin for error so you can safely slack off at other times.
pic: in the 80s we had lycra, which instantly increased both your range of motion and stabilization strength. it was subsequently banned from competition.