Recently, I’ve had a ton of people ask me about the pros and cons of progressive stabilization—and what it actually is. Here’s a summary, to help you determine if this type of exercise (and the machines that provide it) are right for you.
Simply put, progressive stabilization integrates unstable surface training and stable surface training. Unstable surface training has become wildly popular over the past few years, given the new focus on core and balance as part of a comprehensive exercise routine. As a result, gyms are stocked with Physioballs, balance boards and BOSU™ trainers. The Core Bench from Vicore and, of course PowerPlate machines, are all used prominently for unstable surface training among pros and amateurs, alike.
Unstable surface training is considered beneficial for sports that actually take place on changeable surfaces, like surfing, skiing and snowboarding. Thing is, this method of training sacrifices your ability to lift heavier loads and build muscle mass faster by focusing your workout on balance and core strength.
By contrast, stable surface training utilizes fixed-cable and selectorized trainer machines to enable muscle mass development via heavier loads. And while there isn’t the focus on balance or core, most experts agree that stable surface training is best for increasing overall strength.
That said, progressive stabilization, as featured on the Cybex Bravo Functional Trainer, combines these two concepts and provides for stable and unstable surface training. Progressive stabilization lets you adjust the machine to lift heavier weights or focus on core and balance training—depending on your personal goals.
Is progressive stabilization right for you? It just might be, especially if you want total control over your workout experience, and the ability to refine your level of unstable and stable surface training in your home gym.