1. Unstable exercise can increase neuromuscular activation of the muscles due to the need to stabilize the body.
2. Unstable strength exercise (weight lifting performed on an unstable surface) leads to a lesser force production which could hurt HTMUs recruitment.
3. To increase muscle activity the unstable surface should be under the hands for the upper body and under the feet for the lower body (any instability increases core muscles activation).
4. The closer a muscle is to the source of instability, the higher will the increase in activation be.
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The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.