What is the Stability/Mobility Continuum?


The Stability/Mobility Continuum is a concept used in human biomechanics/movement analysis/training etc to describe a requirement of different joints in the body to be more stable or more mobile. There are a couple of ways the term may be used but the most widely accepted use these days involves a joint-by-joint analysis of the body.

What the continuum demonstrates is that joints are alternately designed to be more mobile or more stable as we travel through the body as follows:

skel 3

The kinematic view of the skeleton has value in mountain bike training (as it does in all training) as exercise selection can be guided using this concept. What you often read and hear, however, are arguments about the level of stability/mobility there are in different areas eg it’s often argued the thoracic spine is stiff and doesn’t move much and that the scapulae have a large amount of movement.

The issue these authors have is they don’t understand the neuromuscular system’s role in this continuum. Our neuromuscular system is designed to work in patterns of movement and, in order to move effectively, it requires sensory information about our body in space. What the mobile joints in this continuum identify are the areas which give our nervous system the largest amount of sensory information, while relatively less sensory information comes from the other areas.

If we’re looking to optimise our learning, skill acquisition, rehabilitate from injury etc gearing our programs with respect to these areas will optimise their effectiveness.

This concept provides an extremely useful tool we’ll come back to in future.

If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.



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