One of 5’s: Why balance is critical?

December 2, 2020 in ATHLETES, General, HEALTH, P:REHAB

Strength & Conditioning (SC) provides a detailed approach to improve fitness levels. From a biologic perspective, nature did an outstanding design bringing us to life. Among all that nature surprising beauty, the secrets beneath stunning life seem to have been precisely ordered for a purpose. SC applications aim to trigger responses and improvements to certain physiological levels using different pathways played by the rules, the genetic code. Therefore it seems an acceptable strategy that SC sets its targets on the very fundamentals of exercise physiology. In consequence no matter what orientation of the goal/s or the need/s have to be targeted, any exercise application per equal is based on the fundamentals of its true functional existence.
Despite field complexity, science success decoding how it works played a crucial role on understanding a large number of exercise physiology pathways and adaptations. To summarize physiological pathways and outcomes into the SC fitness spectrum, ATHL.Core framework is based in 5 main fitness attributes. Those 5 are:



Balance has been defined over the years, among others, as one fundamental component of physical, skill and health fitness. But what is it?, what is its significance? and what it means?
The term balance has a broad spectrum, Its definition is a composite and a critique of quantitative and qualitative observational conceptions depending from its point of view:

+ Mechanical. Equate the term balance to the term equilibrium because, by definition, when a condition of equilibrium exists, all forces and all torques are equal to zero. A situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
+ Skill. Contextually appropriate to movement qualitative approach where “lose balance” means to fall or fail to maintain balance meanwhile “off balance” means to deviate from the expected smooth control of balance (Greenlee , 1981).
+ Biomechanical. “Humans sustain bipedal stance and gait as their normal posture and locomotion. As a consequence, humans are required to balance multiple segments with a high centre of mass over a small base of support.” (Taube et. al, 2008)

Although they are valuable approaches, those balance perspectives do not comprise an specific biological structure, which may adapt in response to the exercise or training intervention, but rather describe the progress of performing a particular skill or describe the status of a particular event. The regulation of a biological structures are conditioned by other systems, pathways and mechanisms, physiology.

No matter what approach and definition of balance is used, its true physiological markers are fundamental sensory information from visual, vestibular, cutaneous and proprioceptive sources which are integrated into postural control. All that information we continuously gather is regulated by cortical, supraspinal and spinal systems. All of them are structures of the nervous central system. These regulators put balance as a critical component for movement and therefore fitness readiness. A dynamic and adaptative factor conditioning stance, gait, locomotion, aging and off course athletic performance.


Balance goes deeper than what can be seen, and complies to different system feedback information. Postural control, can suffer impairments due to aging or due to physical activity which increases challenge and risk of falling. Any physical activity offers balance challenges. Particularlly, adventure and action sports which depending on activity type, nature and specific environment characteristics involve additional risk exposure.
If qualitative and quantitative conceptions do not truly define balance, what is it? how does it relates to the brain? What are the alterations in both sensory and motor systems that challenge the concept of balance? The secret lays inside our neurological networks, electricity. All the information from different physiological systems within the central nervous play what we know as mechanical, skill or biomechanical balance.
The main physiological and biologic structure conditioners are:

Cutaneous sensation

Corticospinal excitability
Nerve conduction velocity

Physiological pathways for Rate of force development

To keep it simple, a proper balance program approach will provide an structured type of exercise which is highly efficient to attain increased proprioceptive input to the neuromuscular system or to process information of the proprioceptive system more appropriately. A balance oriented program allows to target different profiles of balance physiological processes. Mainly, a balance program will provide sensorimotor training creating adaptations in the nervous system towards system coordination and synchronization, postural control and Rate of Force Development (RFD).




Way more than standing on a thin rope. The opportunity to enhance information processing from single joint kinematics to skill efficiency and therefore performance has a wide range of applications in different scenarios from children to elderly people (>65 years) for athletics, health and p:rehab purposes.
However what is the common reference for all?
Mobility and stability are different concepts. Meanwhile mobility is about how much movement can be measured (quantitative), stability is how much of his movement is not likely to get disturbed (qualitative). Mobility and stability are imprescindible connected markers. We lay again on valuable outcome references, however these are conditioned as well by physiological and biologic structure adaptations. Its adjustment comes by the successful and optimal function of its regulation biological structures.
As from its outcome point of view a system can be defined as:

(-) Mobility with (-) Stability = Compromised
(+) Mobility with (-) Stability = Potential weakness
(+) Mobility with (+) Stability = Optimal
(-) Mobility with (+) Stability = Stifness

The process towards optimal has unlimited potential from restore an injured joint kinematics, compromised locomotion caused by aging or possible disfunction to increased skill perfomrance for athletic requierements. The true physiological adaptations target every single situation since are the main control switchies for human movement. The fact amplifies the potenial of growth and performance of overall body function efficiency being an exclusive application of SC programs seeking outcomes to improving skill performance, vitality and injury prevention.

The ultimate goal is moving towards being or having an strong and sound system. Once basic and optimal connections are made and set additional goals should be implemented to ensure covering all the framework inside an SC fitness spectrum. Additional SC goals as strength, metabolism and recovery regulators will qualitatively enrich your biological profile function enhancing performance and motor function helping you conquer whatever quest or adventure is in your mind.




What role and contributions does a balance program has to outdoor and action sports athletes? Outdoors and action sports share the beauty of human biomechanics, unlimited possiblities. It is unlikely to have an identical scenario where the need to adapt movment, control and posiiton to external variables is unexistent.

The adaptability required by adventure and action sports athletes to their enviornement is spectacular. Although it does not physiogically explain why, the skill coach or motor expert conception approach has extrem signficance and here is why. Joint biomechanics, and the whole body, are simply defined by only 3 axes of movment. Its multiple combination provides unlimited fascniating options of movement. Movement, patterns or manuevers which need to get processed, controled, efficently effective with optimal mobility and maximized stability and ideally with maximal precision.
The ability to process, control and decide a reliable functional structure into physical activity is the contribution of balance to adventure and action sports. From a single joint kinematics to the ultimate skill, balance is able to enhance performance step by step, turn after turn, landing after landing, movement after movement and the best of it this is trainable.


Balance is a critical and fundamental component of fitness. Despite multiple definitions to understand what can not be seen, balance is regulated by multiple physiological processes through different biological structures.
Balance adaptations applications range from children to elderly contributing to motor development and learning to maintaing function with aging. An athletic approach helps optimize function and performance, reducing inherent injury risk.
Individualized and personalized balance programs are key to success modulating how information is processed in every stage. A PLUS plan has the potential to selfguide you towards a sound & strong for athletic and health purposes. PREMIUM plans can provide detailed progression, precision learning/exercise process towards a successful development within athletic, health and p:rehab scopes.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – Master of Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, DHE Snowboard trainer, DH Mountain guide & Mountainbike and MAT certified. Snowboarder, exercise science nerd and adventure sports enthusiast. IG: @albert_pinol

Strength and conditioning for athletic development, driven by competition or passion?

November 25, 2020 in ATHLETES, General, HEALTH, P:REHAB

Athletic development has been a major focus of attention and a frequent topic in literature since 1985 to 1994 where various authors published, studied and supported the 10.000 hours of deliberate practice theory to achieve success. Some years later, in 2010, an interesting model was published to guarantee, ensure, guide and maintain quality in athlete development the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD). The 10.000 hours practice model has been questioned and posterior research published variablity in different successful testimonials in music, games, education, professions and sports. It was found for example that deliberate practice only explained the 18% in sports success. Although deliberate practice might take a big cut of the cake, seems to be not the only factor.
What is clear is that there is no short-cut to success in athletic preparation, whatever your quest is.


This framework aimed to stage the learning curve and right balance to succes, from childhood to high performance to an active for life lifestyle. Stage progression is based on specialization, trainability and chronological age as a modulation factor, but from a raw point of view the whole model supports a teaching-learning process. The LTAD stages are:

1. FUNdamentals
2. L2T – Learn to Train
3. T2T – Train to train
4. T2C – Train to compete
5. T2W – Train to win
6. A4L – Active for life

Furhter details and characteristcs about LTAD are beyond the goal of this post. However the model offers a useful example to sequence learning to understand the needs during a sound and prospective athletic career. It is a useful tool to determine individual location in time/development and sets the future pathway and possiblities of an individual. This scenario is conditioned by your experience, chronological and most important, biological age.
Competition and winning does not explicity refer to elite sports championships, World Cups, Olymipcs and other prestigious events aim to rank athletes. Competition and winning can also take place in the comforts of one progression, aspirations and capacities. Competing with yourself to be better, win yourself day by day, face up any challenge deserve the same respect as any other goals accomplishment. Actually, there is not much to bring up to be aware that this philosphy has complete tranversal competencies in our daily living.

THE 27

As part of life learning curve, physical literacy is an essential process. Enviorment interaction and Physical education entail and undertake those by nature. As per the LTAD, especially during FUN and L2T stages, what is called the ABC (Athletic stance, Body management and the Cardinal planes of movement) of athletic development consolidates. These concepts reflect the awarness of body position, movement effiecency, effort, and space interaction. Before start thinking “Yes I am a grown up adult and I did all my physical literacy”. As an interessting awarness exercises, when is the last time you did and perform all this fundamental skills?

Balance (dynamic & static), Bending, Climbing, Landing, Rolling, Stopping, Stretching, Swinging, Twisting, Turning
Crawling, Dodging, Galloping, Hopping, Jumping (distance/height), Leaping, Running, Skipping, Swimming, Walking
Bouncing, Catching, Dribbling (feet/hands), Throwing, Kicking, Striking

If you give 1 point per skill. What was your scoring out of 27?


Strength & Conditioning and Athletic development are field born to walk hand by hand, they grow simultaniosly and evolve with time, dedication and practice. One benefits and complement each other, and like a puzzle if you miss one piece you can not have the power to stare the whole picture. As has been proved, exercise, not only provides a platorm to improve physical fitness components as BALANCE, STRENGTH, METABOLISM, ENDURANCE and RECOVERY, it goes futher. Exercise and Biomedical Science research widely supports the implementation of musculoskeletal fitness from youth to aging due to its known implications on enhancing perfomance and health and injury prevention. ATHL.Core® function is to orchestrate and coordinate an organized fitness program to successuly achieve S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals.

From an overall persepctive, Strength & Conditioning provides valuable contribution factors as enhanced performance, health and prevention to extend quality of delivered practice in the Athlete Development pathways increaseing positive experiences and practice longevity over the years. Strength & Conditioning programs tip the balance of prediction to probability of succes. The importance of longevity and probability is crucial to adopt strategies at any point of an athlete pathway bringing well-being and life quality, from the very begining to the Active for life stage.

“The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is practice”
Vladimir Horowitz


Each sport and physical activity entails diferences, requiring and demanding different profile needs. This fact emphasize the importance and interconnectivity of outcomes and motor skills in play, sports and physical activity.
Strength & Conditioning provides the development of different physiological adaptations allowing to apply its benefits and improvements into specific skills, new skill aquisition, calendar goals and contest schedules.
General yet specific Strength & Conditioning outcomes for competitive and recreational sport and physical activity are:



+ Skill Perfomance: Apply ATHL.Core® goals and physiological adaptations to increase your specific skill performance.

+ Power: Increase force production in your specific skill over a period of time.

+ Strength & Size: Amplify overall muscle contratability and its force production by increaseing muscle tissue quality, function and size to built a consistent and reliable biological structure.

+ Body composition: Interrelate you skill specific needs modifing your body composition distribution in favor of performance and selected goals.

+ Tissue recovery: Increase the biologic capacity to restore system function and possible tissue degradation and damage.

+ Motor function: Optimize neuromuscular function, joint balance and motor control to keep training quality to high standards reducing injury risk.

+ Stamina: Overall conditioning will increase the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort during skill specific training. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Strength and conditioning contributions to athletic development, grow the probablity of success from diferent persepctives but mainly from performance and injury prevention. These strategies help to promote personal achievement and professional development in an athlete pathway no matter in what LTAD stage level.



Play, sport, physical activity and skill analysis is required to set the goal to design a program serving a purpouse.
ATHLETE FIT and PLUS plans are customized, self-guided and individualized Strength & Conditioning programs designing high-quality programming to optimize your fitness and get better outcomes. The basic and advanced tools to cover multiple fitness components and physiological pathways of your bio-motor capacity. These program will help you build the fundamentals and develop an overall, sound and consistent Strength & Conditioning profile.
For a more detailed approach analysis, it is recomended to seek assistance from a qualifed Exercise Science professional which will help to optimize training and adaptations. ATHLETE PREMIUM plans are coached personalized programs with 1:1 coaching support offering high resolution analysis with enhanced performance program design including flexible and more adaptable programing, excluive targeted goal sessions, and premium assessment tracking.

Strength and Conditioning to increase the probability of success in competition or Strength & Conditioing to enchance passion and probability of longevity? Improve performane to optimize passion, its orientation is your choice.



* Cover photo composition by @redbullbike & @Santacruzbicycles. No copyright intended.

About the author:
Albert Piñol – Master of Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, DHE Snowboard trainer, DH Mountain guide & Mountainbike and MAT certified. Snowboarder, exercise science nerd and adventure sports enthusiast. IG: @albert_pinol

Health fitness and the 7 outcomes to look for

November 11, 2020 in General, HEALTH

An artist was showing her artwork in a gallery. A random viewer passed by and delighted to what was seeing started a conversation with her. As an ultimate question of inherent inspiration to achieve such excellence, asked “- When did you start learning such a fine ability to paint?”. To what kindly the artist replied “- Actually I started like everyone else, as a child, but I never stopped.”
To such an answer the viewer realized that creativity was born within him as an expression to understand and learn, a natural process. He realized that the question was when did he stop doing rather than when to start (for which is never to late).


This post aims to bring up a reflexion which concerns indidividual behaviors, your social environment and everyone decisions willingly or unwillingly taken. Paradoxes regretfully are part of our existance. A paradox is defined as a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true. Reality is, we either do not know what it means or we ignore what is it know.

If we grow up moving, playing and learning when do we cross the line that makes us stop? What does happen in our heedless lifes that leads to sedentary behaviors omiting part of enojying and developing the default programmed code. Obviously, exercise and strength and conditioning are not only for competitive athletes if we are made and born to move.


Busy life. No time. Work duties. Stress. Disease. Disfunction. Just to mention a few of modern life conceptions and realities that led science to find out not only the right but the minimum dose of exercise stimulus which can provide the benefits for normal function, health and life quality. A practical approach to answer questions and cover the basic needs of wellbeing. This is one application for health related fitness programs which will guide you to succesfully meet the requirements for the minimum time/maximal health benefits ratio, while keeping a busy schedule lifestyle. Body works in a general 12 biologic system category: skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. The interelation those delves deeper in biomedical research and the balance for normal function between all of them is mandatory for what is know as health. Worth to mention that these category classifications respond to paradigm for comprehrension and understanding, but systems work and blend in a whole one.


Exercise has the potential to trigger pathways to reconnect and optimize function through muscle-skeletal system. We are adaptable organisms. Scenarios change and needs arise and therefore exercise is a dynamic eustress (also called good stress) stimuli. We previosuly mentioned that Exercise and Strength & Conditioning programs are set to serve a purpouse, click here to read more about it, in our last post. Individual or group needs and scenarios might differ and therfore that sets different goals and purposes for everybody, eitherway health is a dynamic longevity state of balance which requires to be maintained. What are the outcomes for health fitness program? Here we mention a few:

Health fitness benefits

1. Vitality: The feeling of aliveness. In the physical sense, it refers to being healthy, capable and energetic.

2. Stress Relief: Physical activity acts as stress reliever, delivering feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance your sense of well-being.

3. Built Muscle: Muscle contractability is an essential factor for movement. Mucle tissue acts as an organ, modulating and triggering among many others, hormones, cardiovascular system workload and metabolism pathways.

4. Fat loss: Body composition and certain tissue abundance can lead to imbalances in metabolism and health. Exercise and physical activity regulates metabolism which leads to modify body composition.

5. Pain relief: Proper connection and muscle function enables effiecent biomechanics maintaining body structure integrity which reduce to less weaknesses and stress points.

6. Body function: Mobility and functionality are life fundamentals which favor longevity. Function is required to atain and mantain well being and autonomy physically and mentally.

7. Health: Is the physiological state caractherized by the abscence of disease and injury maintining a biologic balance.


Diferent health and pro-exercise organizations and entities recognized internationally as World Health Organization (WHO) and the America College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) among many others, have consistenly been working on propagating and makeing accessible useful information to the public about exercise and physical activity. If you do not know how to get started a good way to move forward is to contact a qualifed Exercise Science professional for guideance. Here we mention few targets to health related fitness to aim in your lifestyle:

+ Do at least 150 – 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activities or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activities per week.
+ Do strength training for major muscle groups 2 – 3 non consecutive days per week.
+ Stay active and deliverately move (Active commutes, use stairs,…)



From a physiological perspective exercise minimums have to be properly dosed in time and intensity to trigger cellular function thresholds and work to its benefits. Once achieved fitness adaptations take place over time.
Exercise is a powerful tool. It is able to modulate uncountable metabolic and biologic process slowly guiding and re-programming them to achieve certain goals. Exercise can be used as an effective treatment to achieve or maintain health with and without clinical pathologies. ATHL.Exercise Health PREMIUM plans are specifically designed to evaluate and work with clinical settings providing accurate, targeted and progressive exercise prescritpion solutions. Clinical approaches and the use of exercise prescrition have to be properly assessed for successful benefits.

Long story short, what is worth to know is that health is possible through movement because, exercise is medicine.


About the author:
Albert Piñol – Master of Physical Activity and Sports Science, MSc in Exercise Physiology, DHE Snowboard trainer, DH Mountain guide & Mountainbike and MAT certified. Snowboarder, exercise science nerd and adventure sports enthusiast. IG: @albert_pinol






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