Muscle imbalances are the most common cause of pain, tightness, and injury in many people. This is usually caused by weaker muscles than others. A definition of a muscle imbalance from muscleimbalancesyndroms.com states that “opposing muscles provide different directions of tension due to tightness and/or weakness “. For example, tightness in the hamstrings can limit the height of your leg when you lift your leg. The tightness can be caused by weakness of the opposing muscle (quads or hip flexors), making it even more difficult to pick up your leg. Many of the online research will focus on poor technique, repetitive movements, and posture. This is true in many cases. This post will highlight a few simple, yet important, reasons and how to correct them.
What causes imbalances?
- We can develop muscle imbalances from diet, stress, sleep, and hydration. Inflammation can be caused by diet, which decreases the signal that the muscle needs. Poor eating habits increased alcohol intake and constant muscle tension are all signs of stress. The body repairs itself through sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be fully recovering.
- Neurological influence. All over the body, signals are being sent. For muscles to contract, they need to be given a signal. In order to contract effectively, muscles lose their ability to contract. This can lead to muscle fatigue and imbalances. Our bodies work in a way that allows us to get either too much or too little signal. Because only one muscle group is receiving the signal, our muscle is tight. Sometimes that signal is constant and other times it is intermittent. The opposing muscle receives sparks like a light bulb which creates weakness. This imbalance is reinforced when we go about our daily lives or do a workout. Only the strong can get stronger, and the weak can get weaker. You can only fix the muscular imbalance caused by a lack of communication within your muscular system if you don’t address it. Only the muscles that can contract can get stronger and the ones that can’t continue to weaken.
How to improve your imbalances
There is a good chance that you have a severe case of muscle pain. For severe cases like this, I recommend that you consult a medical masseuse or a specialist in muscle activation. Massage can improve circulation and relax tight muscles. M.A.T can help identify muscle imbalances and improve communication between weak muscles. Once you have identified the cause and the involved muscles, you can proceed to the exercise section. Unilateral exercises are the best for treating muscle imbalances. Unilateral exercises allow you to choose specific exercises to target weaker muscles. PNF exercises can also be used to improve signal and movement mechanics.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of Youth Sports Training, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!