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How is Your Stability-Mobility Chain?

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How is Your Stability-Mobility Chain?

If you’re looking to keep your workouts and daily activities safe and optimized, then understanding proper movement patterns is essential.  The principle of the stability-mobility chain (created by Gray Cook and Mike Boyle) states that there is an alternating pattern in our joints, between mobility and stability, that works its way from the ground up.  A healthy stability-mobility chain should look like this:  


  • Ankles - Mobile
  • Knees - Stable
  • Hips - Mobile
  • Lumbar spine (lower back) - Stable
  • Thoracic spine (middle to upper back) - Mobile
  • Middle and lower cervical spine (near neck region)  - Stable
  • Upper Cervical region (neck region) – Mobile
  • Shoulder - Mobile
  • Elbow - Stable
  • Wrist - Mobile


Problems can arise when stable joints have too much mobility or if mobile joints become too stiff.  In this article, we’ll be focusing on the hips as limited hip mobility is one of the more common problems we see today.  When the hips become stiff, the knees and lower back have to compensate and make up for the movement that the hips should be doing.  This causes a break in the stability-mobility chain.  The knees and the lumbar area of the spine should be stable (and are not meant to be performing that level of mobility) which can create pain in these areas.  This is one of the reasons why people who can’t move their hips well can develop knee and lower back pain.

While you may not know it, we use this principle in our training with you, here at Genesis. One reason why you hear us saying things like, “engage your core” is that we’re reminding you to stabilize your lumbar spine.  This keeps your lower back protected while allowing for proper movement in mobile areas (like your hips).


Keeping a healthy stability-mobility chain is important for keeping us doing our activities of daily living and the things we love to do! Contact us at Genesis Personal Fitness to learn more about this topic or any health and fitness related topic.


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