The importance of Stabilizer muscles

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The importance of Stabilizer muscles

Postby hsingh » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:09 pm

I did a search on the forum, didn't find anything on stabilizers so I thought I should add something. Note that this is not research, I'm trying to find any research articles on this.

First, the definition of stabilizers
Stabilizer: A muscle that contracts with no significant movement to maintain a posture or fixate a joint.

Dynamic Stabilizer: A biarticulate muscle that simultaneously shortens at the target joint and lengthens at the adjacent joint with no appreciable difference in length. Dynamic stabilization occurs during many compound movements. The dynamic stabilizer may assists in joint stabilization by countering the rotator force of an agonist. See example diagram: Hamstring weakness regarding hamstring's role in knee integrety (during squat or leg press)

Antagonist Stabilizer: A muscle that contracts to maintain the tension potential of a biarticulate muscle at the adjacent joint. The antagonist stabilizer may be contracted throughout or at only one extreme of the movement. The Antagonist Stabilizer are activated during many isolated exercises when biarticulate muscles are utilized. The Antagonist Stabilizer may assist in joint stabilization by countering the rotator force of an agonist. For example, the Rectus Femoris contracts during lying leg curl to counter dislocating forces of Hamstrings. See knee flexion abduction force vector diagram (Rectus Femoris and Tibialis Anterior).

Antagonist Stabilizers also act to maintain postural alignment of joints, including the vertebral column and pelvis. For example, Rectus Abdominis and Obliques counters the Erector Spinae's pull on spine during exercise like the Deadlift or Squat. This counter force prevents hyperextension of the spine, maintaining the tension potiential of the Erector Spinae.

"Secondary muscle" does not necessarily mean stabilizer muscle. For instance, a secondary muscle used for pull ups can be biceps, or your flexor digitorums, but that doesn't make your biceps a stabilizer muscle. The problem with the way described, is that it can be subjective based on the type of exercise as to what is a stabilizer or a mover muscle. Stabilizers are stabilizers period, they are used to hold your mover muscles/joints/etc in place to prevent injuries as mentioned, but it goes further then that in such that its meant to limit movement as well. You wouldn't want, for instance your shoulder socket to pop down when you are holding a weight above your head, or backwards when you are doing bench pressing, etc. The stabilizer muscles supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor work to prevent your arm from injury, or having parts fall off like your socket.

How does this apply in the gym other then that you will decrease your chances of injury?
Your mover muscles by the way, are well, the muscles you use to move. Biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings, and so on.
The stabilizers as mentioned, are used to prevent injury by holding those mover muscles in place or preventing mover muscles and its affiliated joint/bone from reaching awkward out of bound areas.

How to tell if your stabilizers are used more at a glance? Get a heavy weight for a particular exercise such as bench pressing, tire yourself out with the exercise a bit, and then hold that weight about halfway. If your arms are shaking like mad, you could use some work on the stabilizers that pertain to that particular movement. Good stabilizers should help you maintain and keep that weight up there as stable as possible.

Heavy weight lifters underestimate this and focus on superficial (outer) muscles, with very weak inner muscles which are usually the stabilizers. This imbalance explains why these monstrous guys, can bench 300 pounds, and can't do more then 20 push ups on a stability ball. You should try it sometime, get a stability ball, level your hands a bit more then shoulder distance on the ball, and try doing push ups, it is a good exercise for your shoulder stabilizers (newbies beware of falling off on your face or shaking terribly). Typically, a personal trainer is suppose to help you gain stability skills first before proceeding onto strength and power, because it would actually improve your overall performance (so those guys don't realize that their peak of 300 pounds could have been 330 or whatever if they had worked on stabilizers).

Martial arts has a heavy focus on stabilizer muscles as you might have guessed by now, since most calistenic exercises require stabilizers.

You can probably also visualize why free weight works on stabilizers more then machines. Machine apparatuses are set, immovable and very stable, your stabilizers don't need to work to keep the bar at this certain height, etc. Free weights, require that your body uses the stabilizers or else you'd be in risk of dropping it, etc.

I myself am going to be incorporating a lot of stabilizer work in my training now. I'm told that they are quite weak and thats why certain bones in my pelvis area "slip" easily and cause me a lot of grief. Although, I would imagine that doing compound movements like squat, dead lift, shoulder press etc will work all the muscles...but apparently that's not the case for me.
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Re: The importance of Stabilizer muscles

Postby huatin » Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:43 am

Already i listened a lot about but i didn't know much about it but you wrote briefly about muscles stabilizer in your post.. great search bravooo
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