Don’t look like this guy! Photo Credit
Thanks for tuning in for part 2 of my muscular imbalance series. In this part, I describe ways I’m trying to fix my muscular imbalances. If you missed part 1, click here.
Once you discover you do have muscular imbalances (the over or under developing of certain muscles or muscle groups), like I have, now it’s time to fix them. What I recommend, and the approach I’ve taken, is to totally reinvent your body. This implies taking an approach that focuses specifically on how the body functions. This involves completely overhauling your training routine, such as through functional corrective exercises and stretches, and adjusting lifestyle habits that may be detrimental to your musculoskeletal system.
I know many of you understand the need for corrective exercises and stretches to re-balance your body, but for those of you scratching your head at lifestyle habits let me explain. Lifestyle habits include such things as the way you sit and for how long, and the way you walk. If, for example, you constantly sit all day (unfortunately this is inevitable for many of us) then there’s obviously a natural tendency for your body to have thoracic kyphosis (forward hunching of the upper back and the internal rounding of your shoulders and arms) which will eventually lead to muscular imbalances that promote injury. What I’ve done, is to try to sit with my back straight and my shoulders back (harder then it sounds). This supports thoracic extension which supports proper posture. It is also important to take a break, stand up, and maybe go for a walk once in a while (Yay!).
Although lifestyle habits are important, the best way I think to actually fix muscular imbalances is through functional exercises and stretches that incorporate strength training. Stretching is vital because it is a way to relax muscle tension and of course increase flexibility. If you have a muscular imbalance then your most likely inflexible. Stretching is a great tool to solve this problem (learn more about corrective stretches). Next, is to actually do strength training. By strength training, I mean doing various functional movements and exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, that incorporate numerous muscle groups throughout the body that force you to have good balance and posture. What is vital, however, is that you learn how to perform these movements so you avoid injury while trying to reestablish muscular balance.
Strength training is so effective at fixing muscular imbalances because it is functional to the human body. Squats, for example, is a great exercise because it not only works your lower body (gluts, quads, etc.), but it also works out your abdominal and back muscles as well (if you’re doing them correctly!). Other functional exercises, such as the clean and jerk, and deadlifts, are great because they incorporate the whole body to execute them. This forces that your muscles to stay balanced because not one muscle or muscle group is ever really dominating your musculoskeletal system, thus preventing muscular imbalances.
This is how I am fixing my muscular imbalances, but I want to hear from you. Share your experiences with muscular imbalances in the comment section and tell me if you incorporate the things I’ve said or just feel free to share your thoughts.