There are three key things that can affect joint stability
1: the shape of the surfaces of the bone around that joint
2: the ligaments around a given joint
3: muscle tone of the muscles surrounding the joint
Joint stability can be described as the ability to control and maintain the position of a joint and its permitted movement. Each joint in the body is designed to move through varying degrees of motion and maintaining stability assists in ensuring the range is maintained but not exceeded, thus the musculoskeletal systems around the joint provide a sort of resistance to allow appropriate movements to occur. When joint stability is compromised injury risk is heightened, movement of the individual is compromised and whether this is in day to day life or a sporting setting, it can have knock on effects limiting movement and capabilities.
There are numerous interlinking factors that need to be considered if you’re trying to improve joint stability; strengthening the muscles around a joint helps to maintain the desired range of movement. But it the tendons that actually connect muscles to bones so their health is also paramount. Add to this that the nervous system plays a pivotal role, as neither muscles not tendons can move without being given a signal to do so.
You could consider implementing eccentric, concentric and plyometric actions into your workouts, each one will affect each of the systems briefly outlined above, all contributing to improving joint stability.
Eccentrics: the motion of an active muscle whilst its lengthening under a load, for example the lowering phase of a biceps curl, the object coming from the shoulder towards the floor. This extra time under tension for the muscle / ligaments / tendons is consider to aid neuromuscular control and increase muscle tone (strength). The body is absorbing force against gravity. Eccentrics are being increasingly used to help heal tendinopathies and muscle strains.
Concentrics: the motion of an active muscle whilst it is shortening under a load, for example a biceps curl when the object is coming up towards the shoulder from an extended arm position. Creating force and gaining strength within the muscle
Plyometrics: the muscle is expected to exert a maximum force in a short period of time, like a box jump. When done properly plyo’s can improve the body’s proprioceptive capabilities – one’s ability to work out exactly where the body is in space and adjust to maintain balance and coordinated movement.
The better the function of the nervous system, its ability to perform coordinated movements and adjust the body to tiny degrees of control, with strong muscles and supporting structures all help to maintain joint stability. Incorporating them into your regimen will aid longevity and performance