Imbalance and Injury: Live an efficient life, inside and out of the gym.
We’ve all been hurt at some point in our lives. Whether it is physically, mentally, or emotionally, it’s not a fun state to be in. However, the majority of us are moving through our daily lives imbalanced which puts us at greater risk for physical injury. Muscular imbalance is overlooked when we are working out. We all want to look our best and feel our best but loathe the feeling of being sidelined by an injury. We count the reps and sets, watch the clock, but we may be forgetting a critical part of our workout – proper muscle activation.
Imbalance occurs when one muscle group must compensate for its weaker counterpart which typically comes from favoring a certain movement pattern. In this day and age, we have become robotic. No matter what career we have, there is a certain level of monotony in our daily movement patterns. This creates an issue when one muscle group constantly performing the action becomes much stronger, and typically tighter than its non-firing, weaker counterpart. We know by now that too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing.
Training your brain to overcome the imbalance is not an easy feat and typically easy exercises will seem harder as one half of your brain is working hard to balance out the other. Years ago, at one of my lifting competitions, I was blindsided by a muscle pull in my hamstring during a warm-up set. I pushed through only to find myself sidelined for several weeks following the meet as my whole kinetic chain was off and the muscle pull became more severe with each lift. After months of foam rolling [which can be read about in my previous post HERE], sports massages, and many long boring single joint work to address imbalances, I was back in the gym and training again and now I’m even stronger than ever!
Some days it’s easy to get down on myself for overlooking imbalances and thinking I could be so much stronger without injuries or painful tension knots but I must remember, we are only human and the body has an amazing capability of healing itself when provided with the right tools – MOVEMENT! With movement and mobility comes mental and physical strength as well as balance, which is a feeling that cannot be beat.
Now I can’t say injuries are 100% avoidable, but the severity of them is. YOU have control of your diet, exercise, and rest and recovery regimens. The best results that I have found with my clients as well as myself, is a well-balanced workout which incorporates foam rolling, dynamic warm up to activate the muscles to be used, doing equivalent work on both your anterior and posterior chain [front and back side] along with a cool down and stretch. While it may seem tedious, believe me when I say that you do not want to be out of commission for a long period of time when you’ve got goals to accomplish.
Sometimes calling on the help of a fitness professional will not only keep you accountable, but is a set of eyes that can spot imbalances and address them accordingly. We here at Wise Women Fitness are here to help show you how to efficiently accomplish a balanced workout in just 60 minutes, a couple of times per week while targeting different joints and energy systems.
Remember, if it comes down to it, take the extra five minutes to make sure the muscles trained have had a sufficient stretch. We spend too much time racing to our next plan and not enough time caring about the body that will get us to that plan. Movement is medicine and sometimes with an injury you can do more harm than good by cutting off movement all together. When something acts up on your car you don’t drive it into the ground or neglect it all together, do you? So why not listen to your body and respect it… it is your most permanent home for the rest of your life.
Questions, comments, and new members for the Wise Women Fitness family are always welcomed!