Muscle Imbalance can lead to, and cause, chronic pain in the neck and back, bulging disks, shoulder injuries, headaches and more. For every muscle there is an opposite. Muscle imbalance occurs when you have overdeveloped and tight muscles in one area and the opposing muscles are weak and possibly over stretched. The imbalance may initially show up as an occasional ache or pain but as the body tries to compensate to avoid the pain normal movement become abnormal putting strain on the muscles and ultimately causing more damaging effects. Muscle imbalances can be caused by many factors including genetic make up, sex, and the physical activity we are involved in.
Generally people participate in and favor exercises and activities they are good at, but it’s the ones we struggle with that we need the most. Want2GoFit recommends balancing your fitness routines with resistance training, stretching and endurance activities. Mix up the workout and maintain physical balance as well as mental stimulation.
One common imbalance is shoulder and chest tightness, which can lead to neck pain and head aches. The opposite muscle to the chest is often forgotten. It is the rhomboid located between the shoulder blades. So pulling the shoulders down the back and “plugging the shoulder blades in”, as often said in yoga, will help counter balance the chest tightness. A great exercise for stretching the chest region itself is camel’s pose preformed by sitting on your knees hip width apart. Simply look up at the ceiling as you lean backward and push the hips forward. This opens the clavicle, shoulders and chest. Following any back bend would then be a forward bend so come up to standing in equal balance and hold onto the opposite elbow of each arm. Forward bend allowing the crown of the head to fall heavily toward the floor, completely relaxing the neck and then finally roll up vertebrae by vertebrae ending by lifting the chin.
Glute weakness is also a major culprit in muscle imbalance. Weak glutes can cause knee and hip problems as well as low back pain. Lets start with breaking down what the glutes actually are. They are a group of three muscles in the buttocks area.
1. Gluteus Maximus is responsible for motion in the leg and helps the hip to rotate.
2. Gluteus Medius is more of a basket that hold the muscles surrounding and strengthening the pelvic region.
3. Gluteus Minimus provides strength to the hips.
Having weak glutes makes the bodywork harder. Walking does not fully engage the glute muscles. Stretch and resistance training is needed to target them. Weak glutes can have physical implications all the way down the leg and into the foot. It can cause the tibia to rotate inwards causing shin pain. It can even put too much pressure on the hips and knees leading to replacements of those body parts. So avoid these injuries by stretching and lengthening the Glutes. One great stretch is to sit with both legs fully extended forward. Cross one leg over the other thigh bringing that foot flat on the ground. Gently press against the upper thigh and twist your upper torso the opposite direction until you feel the stretch through your buttocks hold 10 seconds and repeat three times. If you belong to a gym use the abduction/adduction machine to strengthen the glutes and if you don’t have access to equipment you can do single leg squats. Yoga back bends pressing both feet firmly into the grounds (toes facing straight ahead) and lifting the hips through the pelvic region. Keep the legs actively drawing in towards each other. For more strenth you can add Pilates leg lifts.
So in conclusion it’s really all about BALANCE! Doychin and Libby encourage whole body health for their clients and for you. They teach you ways to exercise all parts of the body with a wide variety of resistant training, flexibility and cardio. In addition to working out they encourage nutritional improvement and education, and they promote mental wellness and clarity. First of all love yourself. Secondly understand that all things must be balanced in order to achieve happiness which we all need and love.