Muscle Sport Magazine

Are Stabilizer Muscles Important & How Do I Train Them?

By Maurice Bright – You’ve heard of bicep muscles, tricep muscles and chest muscles but what about stabilizer muscles? It sounds sort of intergalactic doesn’t it? No? Okay then, maybe that’s just with me.


Anywho, stabilizer muscles are the foundation of the body which help keep an individual balanced and upright when moving. Stabilizer muscles aren’t directly involved in the lifting of weights but they do help keep the body steady via isometric muscle contractions throughout lifts. If stabilizer muscles were nonexistent, during a heavy deadlift your body would crumble like a chocolate chip cookie in warm milk because there’d be no type of balance or stabilization provided (pun intended).

These muscles tend to be much more active during free weight exercises such as with dumbbells and barbells because it’s entirely up to them to balance the weight as opposed to a machine assisting with the process. How you go about “training” stabilizer muscles is you would simply practice progressive overload with free weight exercises; some of the best are bench press, squat, deadlift, rows and shoulder presses.


If you’re someone like me who takes great pride in strengthening up your stabilizer muscles, I’d suggest either swapping barbell exercises with dumbbell exercises for a period of time or including a balance of both in your programming. It’s imperative that you do include a solid amount of dumbbell based exercises in a program geared towards strengthening stabilizer muscles because dumbbells provide the most stimulation for stabilizers amongst any other form of equipment. We now know how to go about strengthening stabilizer muscles but are they able to be weakened? The answer is yes. For stabilizer muscles to be weakened they have to be lacking regular stimulation, just like any other muscle. The load is taken off of stabilizer muscles during machine based exercises so please tread with caution when it comes to your programming, be sure not to include an abundance of machinery involvement.

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I myself injured my stabilizer muscles a while back because I decided to regularly squat on a Smith Machine (it was all that was available at the time) then load relatively the same amount of weight on a free weight rack one day like an idiot. I’m telling you this because I know how it feels to have weak stabilizer muscles and deal with setbacks because of it so don’t be like me, free weight and stabilize routinely.

Maurice Bright is an ISSA certified personal trainer who also manages his own health and fitness website, in hopes to inform, educate, motivate and inspire whenever possible.


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