Maximize transfer of dynamic stability training for running

Part 2: Framework to improve dynamic stability training transfer

In the first part, we explained the most important determining factors that influence dynamic stability in running. But how can we now improve it? In part 2, we’ll provide you with a training framework that can enhance transfer between exercises and dynamic stability during running. While traditional core exercises are essential components of your training program, they often lack the specificity needed to improve running technique. However, they can still play a valuable role in developing stability and strength, as we will explore in more detail below.

framework to improve dynamic stability training transfer

Building on the determining factors for dynamic stability, we now propose a framework to improve control of the lumbopelvic region in three dimensions: sagittal, frontal, and transverse. This framework comprises four categories of exercises: isolated, static, dynamic, and reactive.

While there can be an overlap when categorizing an exercise, the goal and adaptation can be different. Isolated and static exercises primarily target the strength and endurance capacity of the stabilizing muscles. In contrast, dynamic and reactive exercises aim to enhance intra- and intermuscular coordination. By incorporating all four categories of exercises into your progressive training program, you should be able to improve your dynamic stability in running.

1. Isolated exercises

Isolated exercises aim to enhance specific muscle groups’ strength and strength-endurance capacity. Typically targeted muscle groups are the hip abductors, external rotators, and (lower) abdominals.

You should select an exercise targeting your specific muscle group with high muscle activity. Increasing training volume with more reps (8-15) and minimizing rest (Below 1′) will generate more fatigue, which induces a structural adaptation.

In the graph below (Reiman et. al 2014) you’ll find the exercises with the highest maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) in the gluteus medius muscle. This can be a great way to select the right exercises to increase the load on your targeted muscle group.

Example exercises

Sideplank knee lift – swissball

E.g. 3 x 8 Alternating left & right – rest 30″ 

This exercise is one of the most effective ways to activate the gluteus medius muscle, with both sides being trained. However, the lower leg has to work harder compared to the upper leg. By pushing into the swissball, you create additional tension in the lumbopelvic region. It will also help you to force your upper leg to move in the right plane without compensating (forward moving leg).

Stork swissball – isometric push

E.g. 4 x 15sec alternating left & right – R15″ 

This exercise specifically targets the glute muscles (external rotators) in a standing position, making it more specific than a side plank. Pushing the swissball into the wall (almost to max effort) creates increased tension on the standing leg. Before pushing into the ball, make sure you have a stable position.


2. static exercises

There is a strong overlap between isolated and static exercises, but they can be distinguished by their goal. Isolated exercises aim to enhance the strength capacity of specific muscle groups, while static exercises go beyond this and target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Maintaining a static position can effectively engage and challenge several muscles without compromising proper form and execution. they can serve as a helpful starting point for those who aren’t yet ready for more complex and dynamic movements. Enough training volume (more reps/time) is necessary to induce a learning effect and/or structural adaptations.

Example exercises

Pallof press – single leg stance

E.g. 3 x 12 Alternating left & right – rest 15″ 

Pallof press while standing on the inner leg, creates a rotational torque that needs to be counteracted by the posterior oblique sling. This is a typical anti-rotation exercise to train the core muscles in neutral body positions, which are desired within the core training of runners.

Stork swissball + quick armswing

E.g. 3 x 12 Alternating left & right – rest 45″ 

This exercise has a similar setup to the isometric push version, but with a distinct objective: to maintain body position during perturbations. A rapid, forceful arm swing will generate a perturbation that requires a lumbopelvic co-contraction to control and stabilize the whole body.


Wall marches – swissball

E.g. 3 x 15 R30″

This exercise is a variation of the front plank, but with a lower intensity due to reduced gravitational pull. Using a swissball can be beneficial in promoting a lumbopelvic co-contraction and enhancing the effectiveness of the exercise.

Hip thrust knee lift + core tension

E.g. 3 x 8 Left & right R1′

This exercise is designed to improve sagittal plane control of the lumbopelvic region. It can be challenging to prevent hip dropping, but by engaging the abdominal muscles (pulling elastic band), control can be enhanced. Pro tip: Incorporate a proper breathing technique by exhaling during the knee lift.

From strength capacity to functionally driven exercises

Isolated and static exercises should not be the endpoint of your training program. While they can make your body stronger, they don’t make you run more efficiently. The next step should be training intramuscular and intermuscular coordination in faster movements. Read in part 3 how you can integrate dynamic and reactive exercises to improve dynamic stability in running.

Written by Philip Cortvriendt

Written by Philip Cortvriendt

Philip achieved a master’s degree in physiotherapy & rehabilitation sciences and has core expertise in the field of running, working with both recreational and elite runners. Philip has the unique role of educating Runeasi physiotherapists and helping them translate biomechanical insights into targeted strength and conditioning exercises- specifically on how they can improve their client care using scientifically validated biomechanical insights from our Runeasi analytics.

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