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Stabilizing muscles

Stabilizing muscles


When we talk about muscles, the first image that comes to mind is biceps, pectorals or quadriceps. However, there are muscles we rarely think of that are of real importance because of their function.

These are the stabilizing muscles. We think of the abdominal and lumbar muscles, but they're not the only ones.

what is a stabilizing muscle?

Well, no! Every muscle can play a stabilizing role, as long as it has some support during the execution of a movement.

Let's take the example of a single-joint movement like the biceps curl. This movement is performed by flexing the forearm over the upper arm using the strength of the biceps brachii. If the lumbar and abdominal muscles were not contracted, the torso would rock back and forth. But it doesn't stop there. If we want to execute a strict movement, then the shoulder muscles need to stabilize the arm against the torso, and so does the latissimus dorsi, which is also involved in this action.

Two examples of stabilizing muscles

Let's take the example of a polyarticular movement like the squat. During the execution of this movement, the hip joint and the knee joint are very much in demand. To stabilize the hip, the gluteal muscles, adductor longus and hamstrings are involved. To stabilize the knees, the quadriceps are mainly called upon. To maintain correct posture and support the weight of the barbell on the trapezius, the lumbar and abdominal muscles are once again very much in demand.

stabilisateur squat.jpg

As the abdominals and lumbar muscles are called upon all day long to maintain upright posture, they are the reference point when we think of stabilizing muscles. As you can see from the examples above, many muscles play this role during movement.

stabilisateur épaule.jpg

How can I strengthen my stabilizing muscles?

Of course, I'd advise all exercisers to strengthen the abdominal and lumbar muscles, as they form the basis of the core. However, each muscle group needs to be strong to maintain good balance and prevent injury as far as possible.

As far as muscles in general are concerned, it's the manipulation of free weights with progressive increases that will enable this strengthening.

It's also important to bear in mind that working on machines, or even only on machines, can have the opposite effect, weakening these muscles. As machines have well-defined trajectories, certain muscles will be used little or not at all, and therefore run the risk of weakening.

I'd therefore advise you to mix free weights and machines, and to avoid balance exercises that are dangerous and ultimately lead to nothing but potential injury...


Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers

Posted in: Bodywork