In a previous post – ‘Is Unstable Training for You?’ – I talked about some specific benefits and drawbacks of ‘unstable’- type training. If you have any strength imbalances, are in need of some added core strength, or just want to shake up your training a little, here are three ways to sneak a few unstable exercises into your workout program. These tips work especially well if you’re like me and you don’t particularly like ‘stability’ training or whatever you want to call it, but know you need to do it!
1. Superset an ‘unstable’ exercise with a ‘stable’ one. For example, if it’s Monday we’re hitting our chest, our first exercise combo of the day might be a stability ball push-up supersetted with a traditional bench press. Christian Thibaudeau talks about this concept and the reasoning behind it in his ‘Holistic Chest Blast’ article over at T-Nation. As he explains, what you are essentially doing with this technique is potentiating the central nervous system while performing the unstable exercise, which allows us to recruit more motor unitsduring the stable exercise. This could equal greater strength gains and more muscle growth.
2. Incorporate unstable training into your warm-up. So, if we wanted to stick with our standard ‘bodybuilding’-type workout for our chest day, we might simply do two sets of twelve stability ball push-ups as part of our pre-workout routine. This ‘wakes up’ the muscle group and, again, allows you to recruit more muscle fibers during training. Here’s a video explaining the stability ball push-up:
3. Use unstable training to finish off your workout. For example, do single leg squats at the end of your leg workout – two sets of fifteen on each leg, taking four seconds down and two seconds back up. This is a great finisher, especially after a muscle group is already fatigued.
Remember: the most important thing about learning something new is to go and try it out! Experiment with one or more of these techniques to easily incorporate unstable training into your workout routine today.