A balanced solution to an unstable
Ok, Lets start with the easy stuff. What exactly
is a muscular imbalance? A muscular imbalance is when two opposing
muscle groups do not have comparable strength levels. Uneven strength
levels cause a lopsided type of force to occur on the joint, leading
to many complications later on, such as poor posture, and joint
instability. An example of this, may be when the hamstrings are
more powerful then the quadriceps muscle. The uneven pull on the
knee can open it up for injury and other conditions, such as chondromalacia
(a situation this writer has some familiarity with.). As far as
the causes for this issue, there are many culprits and they effect
many people, not just weight lifters. One of the contributors, are
jobs with a repetitive task, i.e. an electrician who is pulling
wires, or an office executive who spends most of his or her day
hunched over a computer. The second main co-conspirator in this
problem is poor training habits. We have all seen that simian like
individual in our gym, who does 48 sets of bench, and no rear delt
or back work. His pecs and front delts are so tight, that he is
now exhibiting the sloped forehead a knuckle dragging posture reminiscent
of the Paleolithic era. This is a clear example of muscular imbalance,
as well as past life regression.
What type of problems, can these types of imbalances
lead to? As was illustrated before, postural defects and poor joint
stability can occur. Issues like the aforementioned are initially
cosmetic, however further on in life will become not only painful
but debilitating as well. When an individual has not trained his
or her antagonistic muscles, the body will do things to compensate,
i.e. move body positions or try to utilize other muscle groups not
intended for those purposes. These issues will, take away from your
strength, possibly lead to various types of trauma that can range
from constant nagging injuries all the way on up to full blown muscle
tears requiring both surgery and rehab. Not to mention the fact
that poor posture, will lead to various degenerative conditions
in the body from the constant bone on bone grinding the individual
will be experiencing.
What can an individual do to correct
a muscular imbalance?
Step 1: Admit there
is a problem. If you see that you are beginning to round forward,
or normal everyday movements do not feel right, something is probably
out of alignment.
Step 2: Consult a
chiropractor, massage therapist or Active Release Therapy practitioner.
These individuals can help to tell you, exactly what is out of balance,
and can begin to help you in there own specialized way.
Step 3: Adjust your
training to facilitate healing. Begin by stretching the overtrained
muscle (I hate it as much as you, but stretching is a necessary
evil). The stretching will lessen the pull the more potent muscle
is exerting on the joint.
Step 4: Give the undertrained
muscle priority in your workouts. Lets take for example our
bench pressing Neanderthal, who is lacking upper back and rear delt
strength. I would move his back day to the beginning of his training
week. Then prescribe him a workout that would stress muscles such
as the humerus, medial trapezius, and external rotators.
Step 5: Last but definitely
not least, pay attention to your posture! After you have been adjusted
by your chosen professional, watch how you sit and walk try to stay
as straight and upright as possible. No sense undoing what you just
spent a bunch of time and money trying to fix.
Well, there you have it, correcting an imbalance is
not that difficult, and I think most of you will agree quite beneficial.
Athletes, powerlifters, and bodybuilders will benefit by being able
to move more weight. Office workers and weekend warriors can benefit
from having less back pain, and you can do it all while training
and getting a massage. Not a bad deal, eh? Who knows, maybe after
following a routine like this one, and a few visits to a massage
therapist, even our stone aged friend can become an upstanding member