Strong is the new sexy but you have to be stable to be strong
The media image of gorgeous and sexy has changed in recent years. It seems the willowy overly thin or the voluptuous curvy image of attractive woman has been surpassed with healthy strong and muscular women like Michelle Bridges or Anglina Jolie as Lara Croft. Men with muscles and great posture have always been the most admired and now the girls are aiming for the same.
In endeavouring to achieve this end it is essential to increase core strength and stability as we build power. A failure to address the “stability” part of “strong” will leave the body at risk of injury. Building muscle bulk is quite possible without core strength but pain might build to and there is nothing sexy about being injured or in pain!
We see increasing episodes at the clinic of back pain, tendon injuries and knee injuries in the strong but unstable individual who has been focusing purely on developing power and a good looking pysique.
Some gym machines provide so much control of movement there is no challenge to stability, resulting in increasing strength but without the protection offered by the co-activation of stabilising muscle systems throughout the body.
Holding onto the handles of the cross trainer has the machine providing control of movement direction, minimising how much stability you have to provide from within. Using the cross trainer not holding the handles ensures YOU have to provide the stability and control to maintain smooth movement.
Try it and feel the difference…. carefully at first!! It is a much harder workout – and thats the acid test. If its easy its not doing you as much good.
Incorporating free weights and weight bearing exercise on unstable platforms like a BOSU will have you protecting the joints while building strength.
We know that good control and correct activation of the deeper abdominals flatten the tummy. Without this the rectus abdominus (the six pack muscle) can strengthen but the abdomen can remain distended. We often see very strong men with big bellys… a result of poor training technique.
Strengthening the deeper muscles around the shoulder girdle gives improved contours through the back and will stop the winging of scapular (Chicken wings). Strong shoulders look great!!
So ..if you are aiming for Strong and Sexy remember to train for stability too. Power in useless without control!!
Post by Catherine Stephens B. App Sc (Physio) MAPA.