Why is there muscle imbalance?
Humans are creatures of habit.It is a known fact that if muscles are not exercised, they would become weak, and not function to their full potential. Also the general tendency of a human body is that we have asymmetrical body. Depending on whether one is left-handed or right-handed, one side of our body is stronger and more flexible than the other side. By reflex, you will always use the side that is stronger. For example, if you are about to fall, the natural reaction would be to take support using your most used side, either right hand or left hand, it is an involuntary and reflex reaction.
Training to maintain muscles start right from childhood. Joints have an important role to play in order to maintain mobility throughout our life.
If we allow laziness or bad posture habits to take over, we will pay for it in the long run.
A balance between the muscle length and strength is required between opposing muscles surrounding a joint for human movement to function perfectly. To keep the bones centered in the joint during motion, a certain amount of tension between muscles in opposite direction but towards the centre is normal and can be called muscle balance. The opposite is true for Muscle Imbalance wherein when opposing muscles provide different directions of tension due to tightness and weakness. The quadriceps and hamstrings of the knee joint perform opposite motions; an imbalance between the two could put undue stress on the joint. A tight hamstring would not allow the joint to glide normally or fully extend, which could put extra stress on the quadriceps muscle and patella (knee cap).With the muscle too tight, the joint would typically move in the similar direction as the opposing muscle, typically taking up the path of least resistance, thus resulting in muscle imbalance.
There are two major cause for muscle imbalance. One is the biomechanical cause from repeated movements in one direction or sustained postures. Second is the neuromuscular imbalance due to the predisposition of certain muscle groups to be either tight or weak and this occurs due to movement patterns that evolve from birth. When muscles become imbalanced, they can cause joint pain, and the person suffering from this type of joint pain is predisposed to the musculoskeletal pain syndrome.
How to correct the muscle Imbalance.
Once we have understood the underlying cause, it is easy to correct this muscle imbalance.
We will study step by step, how to know the cause of muscle imbalance, and whether we have symptoms of muscle imbalance, and then proceed to make correction .Once we eliminate the cause, the imbalance will correct itself.
How to recognise if you have muscle imbalance?
If you notice that lately you wobble during yoga and can’t help swaying in high heels, it might be time to evaluate your balance. You can easily master this imbalance once you understand the cause of it.
Have you ever looked in the mirror to notice one arm appears bigger than the other? Or perhaps you’re finding that when you’re doing your “concentration curls, you can lift 30 pounds in your left hand but only 25 pounds in your right.?
The above two are symptoms that you have muscle imbalance.
Training to correct the muscle imbalance;
First strengthen the weaker side, by consciously focussing on exercising the side less used.
For example , if your left arm and chest look smaller in comparison to the right arm and chest, then you should consciously spread the work out in such a manner that the left arm gets to do more work out. For any exercise, start with the weaker side, do the numbers, move to the stronger side, and once again work out the weaker side. This way you ensure that the weaker side comes closer to match the stronger side.
Daily exercise in this manner will definitely show great results.
Focus on the following three ways to reduce the muscle imbalance, once you have identified, your weaker side;
- Utilize More Single-Side Exercises:
The first thing you need to start focusing on is adding more single-side exercises to your workout program. This will allow you to effectively isolate one side of the body and control the total training stimulus.
Another added benefit of single-side exercises is that they will target the core muscles to a larger extent since the abs will be called into action to maintain balance.
However, you will have to ensure, you do not go overboard, and tire out the weaker muscles. These may result in the tearing of ligaments, causing excruciating pain. This might incapacitate you to do your regular workouts.
- Add More Volume For Size Differences:
If the issue you’re dealing with is a size difference, you will approach your training slightly different than if it was a strength difference.
For size, the thing you should focus on the most is increasing total volume on that smaller side. You obviously don’t want to overload it with so much volume.
- 3. Add More Weight For Strength Differences:
If, on the other hand, the difference you’re dealing with is strength and not size, then you’re going to focus more on the weight side of things.