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You have often been warned about muscle imbalance and how it can lead to muscle injury or strain your joints. One thing about the modern lifestyle is that it is mostly spent at the desk sitting and working, hunching over papers and a laptop. This strains some of our muscles and leaves others undeveloped and weak, setting us up for injury. The way we train and exercise also contributes to muscle imbalances. So how do we know if we have muscle imbalances and how do we fix them before they causes injury?
How Does Muscle Imbalance Affect My Performance?
People who do certain sports like badminton might have very noticeable muscle imbalances between each arm. However, the dangerous thing about imbalance in runners is that if one leg is stronger than the other, it will affect your balance since you’re actually running on those legs. Another worrying kind of muscle imbalance is between muscle groups that work together for a particular motion. In this case, the stronger muscle will start to get overworked in order to compensate for the weaker one, and may start to break down.
How Do I Test For Muscle Imbalance?
There are several ways to test for muscle imbalances, and they help you to root out imbalances between different muscle groups. One of them is the Functional Movement Screen. Not only can it help you to see where which muscles are disproportionately stronger than their partner, but it can also help you identify habitual movements that may be dangerous in the long run.
The only drawback is that this is best done with a professional trainer as someone observing from the side will be able to see more clearly. Other simple tests you can do on your own are simple range-of-motion tests. How far you can go is not so much of a problem as opposed to whether your range of motion on both sides is the same. Also, as these are fairly simple exercises, if you have trouble doing them or experience pain it may be time to consult a professional trainer to help you figure out what’s wrong.
What Can I Do About It?
Now that you’ve identified your weaker muscle groups, how do you go about rectifying the problem? Unilateral exercises that target and train a particular set of muscles strengthen and train up your weaker muscles, so remember to include them as part of your workout on days when you do strength training. On top of that, little changes such as improving your posture or form even when you’re doing simple day to day things (at work, etc.), and being smart about the surfaces on which you run can help too.
However, the dangerous thing about imbalance in runners is that if one leg is stronger than the other, it will affect your balance since you’re actually running on those legs.
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