Varun Sharma

 | 1 minute to read

Muscle Imbalance

Exercise Science
To balance out our palettes after eating spicy food we crave dessert. To bring silence into our minds after long days of work, we meditate or go for a stroll. We have friends "like family" to complement the eccentrities of our families. It seems like life is all about seeking balance and the human body's anatomy is no different.

In the Human Body too for every muscle (agonist) and its action there is another muscle(antagonist) providing the opposite action. For example, the biceps muscle on the front of the upper arm flexes the elbow. The triceps on the back of the arm extends the elbow. Due to various stress, injury, sport or adaption (Biomechanical or neuromuscular) muscles can become weak, tight or overactive. Example running as only activity, over time may make you experience weakness in the hamstrings. This is called Muscle Imbalance. Types --------- Broadly classifying there are two types of Muscle Imbalance. 1) Side to Side: These are between matching muscle groups or twin parts such as arms, chest, legs. It’s common for guys to have one arm or pec that’s larger than the other. Its also called as asymmetry. 2) Front to Back: These are between Agonist and Antagonist muscle groups of which example is given above. Most musculoskeletal pain syndromes are caused by front-to-back differences. Signs and Symptoms: ------------------------------ Muscle Imbalance can cause problems like IT band syndrome, SI joint syndrome, sciatica, frozen shoulder, knee pain, hip pain, and all forms of back pain. Tennis Elbow is one kind of such adaption which becomes painful overtime. Postural Dysfunction is another kind in which our daily routine puts our spine and joints out of their normal balanced alignment. What can be done? -------------------------- •Some common ones in Postural Dysfunction are: 1) Rounded Shoulders or hunched back: This is common in people whose chest or abs are too tight. Can occur due to workout imbalance or sitting/slouching on a computer all day. This can be repaired by stretches and strengthening back muscles. Door frame stretches, wall extensions, Wide grip rows, resistance band pulls, foam rolling are some of the corrective measures. 2) Forward Pelvic Tilt: This is common in people with weak or tight hip flexors, lower spine muscles and lower abs. This can be corrected by hip flexor stretches, planks, glute bridges and hip hinges . 3) Forward neck: This is common in people who look down a lot in their phones/laptops/child in a hunched position. This adds a lot of strain on your neck. A simple exercise for this is standing against a wall and doing chin tucks. There are many other conditions like tight piriformis, tight calves(due to high heels in woman), tight adductors that you can detect and work around in similar fashion. In general fix your sitting and standing posture and take breaks if you have long sitting jobs accompanied with stretches that other articles have already covered. •Front to Back Imbalances: Designing a balanced training regimen and sticking to it is the key. The most common cause of muscle imbalances is simply training one muscle or muscle group more or more intensely than another. Example If you hit your chest with 100 heavy reps per week and your back with only 30, or if you focus all of your time on your upper body and neglect your legs, you’re going to wind up with a disproportionate physique. A good program distributes the work fairly evenly between your upper and lower regions, and between pressing, pulling, and squatting. 1) Identify the weak muscles. There are many tests to do that. 2) Increase the training volume in the out of proportion area by adding in an extra work out for that body part. •Side to Side Imbalances: 1) Include Unilateral Training 2) Start with weaker sides first. When you do unilateral exercises instinctively we start with strong side first. Do the opposite. This is even a preventive measure. 3) Decide the Workout volume by weaker sides. By starting on your weaker side, you can let it determine the amount of work your stronger side does which stops it from outworking the weaker side. Do a set of Lunges to failure and you’ll understand the point I am making. Dont neglect Muscle imbalance and consider it while designing and performing your workout because we all have one or other kind of it. It does not matter how many properties you own, eventually you have just one body to live in. Work with it responsibly to keep it going!
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