Principles of a Safe Workout – Dynamic Stability Training

Dynamic Stability Training

Building Spinal Health – Dynamic Stability Training

Dynamic Stability Training (DTS) provides hope to people with chronic back problems, and those who want to improve their spinal health, with clear evidence of its effectiveness.

A major goal of this type of training is to recruit muscles involved in dynamic trunk stability during whole body functional movement under dynamic conditions.

Everyday activities in life; household tasks, work, recreation and sports all expose us to unexpected stresses and strains. We may step off a curb, slip or reach in awkward situations, and if these movements are not well-controlled, they can result in poor performance and/or injury.

DTS addresses the health requirements necessary to adapt to daily activities and helps restore the clear neurological deficiencies (lack of stimulation) from our sedentary lifestyle.

Three key strategies are implemented in Dynamic Stability Training:

1. Maximum Nerve System Stimulation

Our brain and nervous system require clear communication to joints and muscles to control them effectively. They also need adequate electrical energy to ‘power’ that communication. For this power and control to happen, the nervous system needs to be stimulated with the right exercise at every opportunity, not just sometimes.

Many exercises do not do this effectively. Exercise machines reduce the nervous system activation by doing the stabilisation and control for you! Other exercises (like sit-ups, sitting while exercising) compromise passive tissues like discs and ligaments, which ultimately damage the nervous system function and potentially switch off the ‘core’ stabilising muscles that we are trying to strengthen.

Implementing the use of unstable (gym ball, wobble board, balance pad, etc.) or soft training surfaces (balance pad) increase the activation of core stabilising muscles, as well as stimulate nerve receptors (around joints).

As a result, performing exercises on unstable equipment significantly improves balance and postural control.

2. Whole Body Functional Movements

Isolating muscles in exercise has long been demonstrated to create long term imbalances. While the limbs pull, reach, lift and pick things up, we must maintain alignment of the pelvis and neutral spine with the protective core.

With Dynamic Stability Training, we look at creative ways to build that strength, control and endurance of the whole core in every exercise.

3. Standing Rather Than Sitting

Our body is designed to stand. It is much more difficult to achieve pelvic-core stability in the sitting position. Excessive sitting ultimately damages our pelvic ligaments which weakens our core strength.

There are so many problems that can be traced from sitting… why would we strengthen our body in the seated position anyway?

Exercise Methods of Dynamic Stability Training

  • Performing exercises on an unstable platform or soft surface
  • Standing, rather than sitting
  • Using free weights, rather than machines
  • Training unilaterally with dumbbells, rather than barbells

Bird-Dog, Side Bridge, and Planks are great exercises because they are building strength (endurance) and control around a protected neutral spine with minimal stress. That’s why we recommend adding DST to these foundational exercises balance by incorporating unstable platforms. 

These exercises add balance by incorporating unstable platforms.


These exercises add balance by incorporating unstable platforms.

1. Plank

The Plank serves as a basic stability via challenging the anterior core – or your muscles at the front. The goal is to resist gravity, and prevent the abdomen from dropping to the ground. Find the minimum brace via maximal muscular activation — instead of over-contracting. Maintain neutral hip/spine posture.

Notice one hand is placed onto the opposite elbow. This requires higher neuromuscular demand, to prevent rotating or twisting of the torso.

The bands increase demand of whole body core, leg and should stability.Control the level of difficulty with the body incline.

The renegade row (also known as a plank row) is almost a variation of the dumbbel row.

2. Side Bridge

‘Flys’ in this position (Fig. 6) add significant difficulty and require building further muscle-postural endurance.

3. ‘Stir the Pot’ or ‘Roll-Outs’

These exercises are a great alternative to sit-ups, without causing damage to your spine.

Building a level of difficulty from the Plank style of exercise, and for those who want to feel an abdominal ‘burn’, this exercise will not disappoint, but great control is essential.

A good alternative is the Stirring the Pot exercise.

The Exercise

In the proper Plank position on a stability ball – In neutral spine position with abdominal brace – move your forearms in a circular fashion, aiming to limit movement of the lumbar spine, hips, and pelvis. You need to widen your stance to achieve this.

To make it more challenging, narrow your stance (or just have someone kick the ball randomly as my son loves to do!).

4. Bridge

Please note the use of Bridge exercise with unilateral weight, rather than weights on both sides (Fig. 8). If weights were used on both sides at the same time, you would be more balanced and need far less core stability.

The beauty of this type of training is that the weight lifted (how heavy) becomes calibrated to your whole-body stability, rather than isolated muscle strength. It’s self-regulating, which is great because unless your stability is good, you won’t be able to lift heavy weight.

5. Stand Rather Than Sit

The seated row or seated rowing are very popular exercises (Figs. 9a & 9b). I totally understand if you are training for rowing as a sport, then you must row. But you need to be aware that if you sit all day at work, then efforts should be made to counter the negative postural effects of sitting.

It’s important to note that the seated row will develop your ability to lift heavy weight, building larger muscle size of your back muscles. However, increased muscle size will not help prevent injury.

6. Squat

Adding balance to your squat, with slow repetitions to build endurance can help build pelvic-core stability, and should be prioritised before adding weight, or moving to One Leg Stands.

An alternative to using a pull-down machine. A band can be used by itself (a pull-down), then used incrementally (with different band strengths) to assist with pull-ups on a bar.

Book An Appointment

We can provide a comprehensive consultation and spinal assessment, and customise an exercise program specific to your needs.

Prioritise your health, live your best life.

DISCLAIMER: All content is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

Ready to take the next step? Book an appointment with us.
Beautiful Landscape