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The Four Pillars Of Health & Fitness: Part 1, Stability

Tired of aching joints and pain? You might be missing a key component to your fitness!

Hint: walking is not enough.

A well-rounded exercise program focuses on developing fitness in four major areas: (1) stability, (2) strength, (3) aerobic efficiency, and (4) anaerobic performance.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a deep dive into each category and explore its importance.


Movement is rarely, if ever, dependent on a single muscle group or body part. Instead, movement is an orchestra of muscle contractions controlled by the central nervous system to create joint actions to accomplish specific tasks. There are countless movement patterns that can be created in order for the body to move in ways we want.

The 10 main joints from the ground up:

  1. Foot

  2. Ankle

  3. Knee

  4. Hip

  5. Lumbar spine

  6. Thoracic spine

  7. Cervical spine

  8. Shoulder

  9. Elbow

  10. Wrist

These main joints can be further broken down into two categories: (1) stability-based joint, or (2) mobility-based joint.

Mobility is the ability to move freely and easily.

Today, we’ll focus on stability – the ability of the body to maintain equilibrium and support joints during movement.

It allows us to transmit force from the body to the outside world and from the outside world to the body in the safest manner possible. Stability provides our body with an efficient way to get things done safely by carrying load across muscles (which were designed to move weight) instead of relying solely on joints which are not equipped to do so alone.

Stability is the absolute foundation upon which your strength, aerobic performance, and anaerobic performance relies. It is critical for not only maintaining our ability to exercise with reduced risk of pain and injury, but also just simply being able to move well in everyday life.

The stability-based joints are the foot, knee, lumbar spine, cervical spine, and elbow. If you reflect on the location and role of these joints, it makes sense that stability is critical.

For example, how often do you hear someone, or do you yourself experience knee pain or lower back pain?

When our joints lack stability or issues occur, it can affect the normal function of the joint. If the dysfunction is severe enough, the joint, or in many cases joints, will then become unable to maintain their stability or mobility. 

Building muscle around the joints and enhancing stability is crucial, particularly as we age.


Stability training uses high repetitions and proprioceptive activities (activities that challenge a person’s balance and awareness of location in space).

During this Phase of training, rest time between sets ranges from no rest at all to 90 seconds. Repetitions range between 12 to 20 per set, with 1 to 3 sets of each exercise. The amount of weight being moved during Phase 1 is less intense—approximately 50 to 70% of a client’s one repetition maximum or even just body weight alone.


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