The Cybex Research Institute, under the guidance of Dr. Paul Juris,
has the directive of discovering the scientific truths that verify the information
disseminated to the fitness community and the products engineered by Cybex International.
In this section, "The Truth on Fitness", the Institute will examine a variety of
pertinent fitness topics, and present credible basic science and evidence-based
conclusions that will help our readers make smart decisions about their own fitness
methods and practices. To learn more about the truth on fitness, click on a link
In all of our movement actions, there is to some degree, a need to maintain our
balance if we are to successfully complete a task. Dr. Paul Juris examines the biomechanics
of balance, different types of balance conditions, its control systems, and the
various training methods that contribute to improving balance.
Stability has both advantages and disadvantages, depending upon the functional goal.
If the objective were to remain stationary, for example, a high degree of stability
would be advantageous. On the other hand, if one wanted to move quickly from one
position to another, too much stability would hinder displacement, and would be
a disadvantage. Often, finding just the right amount of stability is essential to
Whether equilibrium arises from subtle control of the center of gravity, or a dynamic
repositioning of the base of support in front of a moving center of gravity, the
eventual outcome is the product of information gathering and the ensuing motor response.
To put it plainly, one must first recognize that their stability is being, or is
about to be challenged, and then, they have to produce some action intended to maintain
equilibrium. Through a combination of complex information from our eyes, muscles,
joints, ears, and other tissues, balance and equilibrium can be maintained or lost.
In this installment, we'll explore the sensory side of this equation.
When one thinks of balance training, one may first envision someone standing on
a wobbling disk or air-filled rubber pillow, because these techniques have become
vogue in current fitness practices. These moving and distorting objects are referred
to, by researchers, as labile surfaces. In fact, it is a rare occasion indeed when
one can walk into any gym and not see someone exercising atop a labile device. The
question that you might ask yourself is, "do I really need to stand on one of those
things in order to improve my balance?" Well, maybe, but before we answer that,
we should first understand how balance is controlled. Dr. Paul Juris describes the
best approach to improve balance and stability during motion activities.