Muscle imbalance is when your muscles becomes weak, and the stronger muscles overcompensate for the weaker ones. This happens because the weak muscles can’t match the strength and endurance of the stronger ones, they fatigue more easily and force the stronger muscles to work harder. Still not clear visualize this example, if you do push-ups or bench presses daily, but never do rows, pull-ups, or other upper body pulling movements, there's a good chance your chest is far stronger than your back, and produces an end result of muscle imbalance.
Take it like this poor posture also causes muscle imbalance and though not intentionally, and most often not identified until one begins to feel pain they take this issue as a concern.
Muscular imbalances can result from many issues including the following:
· Postural stress
· Emotional stress
· Repetitive movement
Our jobs, lifestyle, hobbies and habits are all factors that contribute to muscular imbalance. Many of us are engaged in a routine lifestyle where we go to work every day doing the same thing. Example sitting in the office all day in a hunched position for more than three hours can cause unnatural posture which leads to muscular imbalance.
Although being physically active is being encouraged, if not done properly it can be of a disadvantage. Repetitive movements like pushing, pulling, lifting, moving and twisting can also lead to muscular imbalances because our core muscles are often neglected. And we also don’t condition our bodies to move in a side-to-side or rotating direction (lateral or transverse planes)
Here are some tips to correct and prevent muscle imbalance:
To prevent muscular imbalances, when you are sitting or standing for long periods focus on good posture. Try to take walking breaks every 2-3 hours at the very least.
When performing repetitive movements engage your core (contract your abdominal muscles), and try to change up your movements when you are able.
Start to correct imbalances by adding more unilateral exercises to your workout. Unilateral exercises allow you to isolate one side of your body from the other. Hammer Strength machines, resistance bands, dumbbells, and single side cables are all pieces of equipment that will help you focus your attention on your weaker side.
Start to correct imbalances by adding more unilateral exercises to your workout. Unilateral exercises allow you to isolate one side of your body from the other. Hammer Strength machines, resistance bands, dumbbells, and single side cables are all pieces of equipment that will help you
· Perform to the strength of your weak side
You will want to formulate your rep scheme according to the strength of your weak side. You do not want to work to that of your stronger side, as this will only exacerbate muscle imbalance.
Since you are going to adjust the amount of reps to suit your weak side, start with that side to get a feel for your rep count. If you can only do 10 reps on your left side, and 15 on your right, stop at 10. In theory, you want to under-train, or maintain the right side in hopes of allowing the left side to progress.
· Form and flexibility
Many people choose to fix muscle imbalances on their own, but I also advise in some cases working with a rehab specialist, or hiring a trainer to ensure proper form. If poor form is partly to blame for imbalance, you may need the help of a professional to recognize this and to help you train the right way.
Flexibility can also cause muscle imbalances, so make sure you are taking yourself through a proper dynamic warm up sequence to prepare you for a full range of motion when you train. Don’t forget to stretch at the end of a workout, giving special attention to your weaker side.