is the term used to describe the unique combination of movements we have developed over our years working in strength, fitness and rehabilitation.
The premise is simple – a joint in its optimal position moves exactly as it is supposed to – pain free.
Muscles connect to and cross over every joint. They essentially ‘hold’ the joint in this optimal position.
When the muscles are out of balance – some are weak, and not able to hold the joint securely, the others can tighten up and overcompensate. We stretch and stretch and only get temporary relief! Once we strengthen the weak muscles we achieve neuromuscular stabilisation – and the joint feels secure, the nervous system turns off the pain signals, and strength returns.
WHAT I FOCUS ON
ABOUT NEUROMUSCULAR STABILISATION
1. IT’S A COMPLETE RE-CONDITIONING OF THE SYSTEM
Neuromuscular stabilisation re-programs the brain to send different nerve signals to your muscles – firstly to activate the ones that have been fast asleep, and then to co-ordinate with the other muscles around each joint to keep each one in it’s optimal position
2. IT’S THE EASIEST PATH TO A FLAT STOMACH
I won’t bore you with a long anatomy lesson – but here’s the take home point –the ‘core’ is complicated. There’s dozens of muscles around the pelvic girdle and the abdomen, not to mention the spine. There are literally thousands of nerve endings supplying these structures, keeping the pelvis stable, the pelvic floor strong, and stopping the internal organs from drooping (no joke). No amount of 1-2 muscle ab exercises is going to take all of these structures into account – if you’ve been crunching for what seems like infinity and still have a jelly belly this could be why.
3. NO PAIN EQUALS MORE ENERGY – INSTANTLY
Pain takes energy – literally. There’s an entire branch of sensory nerves (nociceptors) that signal pain pathways in the body. And because the body prioritises pain in it’s aim for survival, this process automatically steals cellular energy (have you ever noticed how exhausting being in pain is?). Remove the pain and the nervous system down regulates these pathways, redirecting energy to repair, digestion, thinking, and other functions.
4. IT CAN BE DONE IN 10 MINUTE, BABY FRIENDLY INTERVALS
Nothing makes you prioritise your time like being a mum. Busy takes on a whole new meaning, and the unpredictable nature of children can sometimes make it feel impossible to get an hour to yourself to exercise. Because stability training focuses on the joint position – each one can be done in 10 minute blocks – with amazing results. You can do 4 in a row if you have the time, and get that ‘workout’ feeling, or you can conserve your energy (particularly in those early months) and do 1 block at a time. It’s the perfect thing to do once you have just put baby to sleep – 10 minutes of stability training, and then a snooze for you too.
5. YOU GAIN STRENGTH LIKE YOU’VE NEVER HAD – EVEN PRE PREGNANCY
When a joint isn’t in it’s optimal resting position, the muscles around it literally become weaker – due to a neurological process called down-regulation. So no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to be getting any stronger. Things like running and push ups don’t seem to be getting any easier, and it’s frustrating as all &^%! Stability training centres the joint into it’s optimal position so that it can move freely – allowing the nervous system to relax and the muscles to gain the full strength they are capable of – once the joints are stable.
6. YOU DON’T NEED 45 MINUTES PREP TIME TO GET YOU AND BABY OUT OF THE HOUSE – IT CAN BE DONE ON THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR
By the time you feed, change, dress, soothe (and then there’s the baby too) it can be time to do it again.. These 10 minute intervals can be done at any time of day (or the middle of the night) and in any sort of relaxed clothing. Save yourself the prep time and just get them done – at home –
when the opportunity pops up you can actually take advantage of it rather than missing it because it’s the ‘wrong time’ of day or whatever.