Correct muscular imbalances
by John Harris Fitness
Neck pain, lower back pain or knee pain - who doesn't know these problems? Almost everyone has to deal with tension and pain in the joints sooner or later. A sedentary lifestyle in particular promotes these.
Most of our movements, if not all, are forward. We sit in front of computers or at school for several hours a day, in our cars, and we move forward. But also the majority of all sports consist of forward movements, be it soccer, swimming or volleyball. This creates a one-sided load, for example, the chest muscles or the leg extensors are used more. This group is called tonic musculature. Tonic muscles have more endurance and weaken more slowly, but tend to shorten. These include: Neck muscles, chest muscles, lumbar spine (LS) back extensors, anterior leg muscles, and calves.
Phasic muscles? - What are they?
Phasic muscles are those muscles that tend to weaken because they are not used in everyday life and in most sports and are not used much in compensatory training. In other words, they are the exact opposite of tonic muscles, which are constantly used. Phasic muscles fatigue more quickly, but do not tend to shorten. If they are not exercised regularly, the muscles react by weakening. The phasic musculature includes: Back extensors in the thoracic spine (BWS), shoulder girdle (trapezius muscle lower and middle part, shoulder outward rotators), saw muscle, abdominal muscles and gluteal muscles.
Muscular dysbalances, an imbalance between the tonic and phasic musculature, occur due to a lack of physical exertion, a one-sided load during sports or in everyday life, or incorrect execution of movements. How do you recognize muscular imbalances? By typical incorrect postures:
- Hunchback, head and shoulders are pulled forward due to a shortening of the chest and neck muscles, as well as a weakening of the thoracic spine straightening and he shoulder blade centering muscles.
- Pelvic tilt forward or hollow back due to a shortening of the hip flexor muscles, as well as a weakening of the abdominal muscles and gluteus maximus.
- Pelvic tilt to the side due to a weakening of the gluteus medius and minimus.
Most pain in joints is caused by muscular imbalances. Regular training can eliminate this pain. On the one hand, the global (external) muscles should be strengthened, and on the other hand, the local (internal) muscles should be strengthened. The latter is mainly strengthened by coordination training, which are for example balance exercises - exercises on the busoball, wobble board and co.
You can correct a muscular imbalance by strengthening the phasic muscles and stretching the tense, tonic muscles. Here are a few exercises to strengthen the weakened muscle areas.
Thoracic spine straightening & shoulder blade centering
Back Stretch BWS - "Kraxn".
Sit on the edge of a chair or bench and bend forward slightly. Place your hands on your temples. Now curl up in the spine area and slowly curl up again. It is important that the lumbar spine remains round. Tighten your abdomen during the exercise.
Trapezius muscle lower and middle part - rowing exercise
You can do this exercise on the machine or on the cable pulley. It is important to keep your elbows at the same height as your shoulders and your abdomen tense during the exercise. Throughout the exercise, make sure you pull your shoulders back and down and contract your shoulder blades.
Saw Muscle - Push-up+
The starting position is the push-up position. Now actively push yourself up a bit again. Your arms will remain extended the whole time. To strengthen the exercise you can rotate your hands outward so that your fingers are no longer straight.
Prevent pelvic tilt forward (hollow back)
Gluteus maximus - pelvic lift
Starting position: supine, legs bent, heels actively pressing into the floor.
Cross your arms in front of your chest and actively push your pelvis up. Hold this position briefly at the highest point and lower the pelvis again, but do not completely lower it.
Abdominal muscles - Crunch
When doing a crunch, it is important to actively press your heels into the floor and round your pelvis. A crunch should be done in a curling motion and not with your back straight.
Pelvic tilt sideways
Gluteus minimus & Medius - Abduction
This is the muscle you train with all abduction movements, whether on a machine, cable pulley or without weight. It is important that when you extend your leg, your hips do not move out and remain in a neutral position.
Muscular imbalances are becoming more common in our society. In particular, a sedentary lifestyle promotes them. Now you know how to compensate for them. We wish you good luck with your training!