Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

The Skinny on Muscle Imbalances - Restoring Order As A Means Of Eliminating Back Pain


There are many causes of back pain. Injury, illness, herniated disks and poor posture are just a few.

Muscle imbalances are one of the lesser side effects of improper use, posture, strain and injury, and are commonly the cause of the aches and pains associated with back pain. Unfortunately, most doctors don't diagnose muscle imbalances until it is too late.

Muscle Imbalances Defined

So what exactly is a muscle imbalance? A muscle imbalance is exactly as it sounds, an 'imbalance' or inequality that exists within the muscles. It occurs when two or more muscles in the body that oppose each other are disproportionate.

An example of a common muscle imbalance occurs in the muscles of the quadriceps and hamstrings. Most people work hard to strengthen the front part of their leg but often skimp when it comes to exercising the hamstring. A muscle imbalance in this area of the leg can result in a 'popping' sound in the knee. It can also result in back pain.

The single most common muscle imbalance leading to back pain is disproportionate abdomen to back ratio. Think of it this way... it's like a teeter totter that isn't balanced because one end is shorter than the other. It will still work but not optimally.

Not exercising the abdomen can lead to severe back pain because the abdomen supports the back.

Biology of Muscles

It will help your understanding a bit if you have an idea of how muscles work. Muscles are fibrous tissues that connect to bones in the body, supporting the function of movement. To facilitate movement muscles contract and then relax. So a muscle gets shorter and then longer in response to movement. A muscle imbalance may result in too much or too little contracting or relaxing. Or, some muscles may get too strong while others aren't strong enough and can reduce a persons' stability.

Factors Contributing to Muscle Imbalances

One of the primary causes of muscle imbalances is poor posture. If you sit for too long in a bad position or continually stand with bad posture, your muscles adapt to your posture but in a bad way resulting in imbalances.

Muscle imbalances can also result when you overuse a muscle. If you are right handed for example and use a pull lever on the job, and only pull with the right hand, the right hand/arm will be stronger than the left which presents an imbalance.

The Benefits of Exercise

The good news is that exercise can help reduce and even eliminate muscle imbalances. (If not careful however, improper training can also lead to muscle imbalances).

You can exercise weaker muscles to catch them up to stronger ones and work to correct imbalances and maintain overall stability. You can assess whether or not opposing muscles are out of balance by testing your lifting strength. Try lifting your maximum on one side and then the other.

For example, if you can lift a 10 pound weight during a bicep curl on the left side, but a 30 pound weight on the right, you have a muscle imbalance. You should enlist the assistance of a trainer when testing muscle imbalances. By working with a trainer, you can develop a fitness program that not only addresses muscle imbalances but improves overall tone and strength. Usually a combination of strength training and physical therapy or chiropractic therapy can be used to correct muscle imbalances.

Prevention

Prevention is critical when it comes to muscle imbalances and back pain. One of the best things you can to correct and prevent future injury is seek out the help of a professional trainer. A trainer can perform a physical evaluation and test the relative muscle strength you have on each side of the body. You can then work together to develop a strength training program that provides overall strength and eliminates potential problem areas.

About The Author

Steve Preston, President of Fast Fitness has been training and counseling clients for 15 years. He offers personal fitness training, metabolic testing and customized fitness and nutrition plans. His new guide *The Better Back Guide: 6 Weeks to Improving Strength and Reducing Pain Without Surgery* teaches people how to reduce, eliminate and prevent chronic back pain using a six week program. You can read more about his guide and his other fitness guides and services at: http://www.fast-fitness.net. Learn More about Back Pain at: http://www.backpainworkout.com


MORE RESOURCES:

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program
STACK News
Spring is a great time to add volume to your players' programs and improve their strength levels. The Time Under Tension Workout accomplishes both of these goals. Remember to keep the weight considerably light the first week, since the additional ...



Best Macronutrient For Recovery & To Help Build Muscle
Boston Herald
Out of the three macronutrients, carbohydrate is the most anabolic (muscle building). Reason being, carbohydrate is a nutrient activator, which means it primes your muscle for protein through a number of processes. That being said, the best times to ...



Philly.com

Women can build muscle without bulking up
Philly.com
If you're a woman who exercises, the fear of bulking up may have crossed your mind. But regardless of what your fitness goals are, muscle can help you get there. Why women need to build muscle: Increase strength. Building muscle makes it easier to do ...



Wina Sturgeon: Carry extra weight to build muscle
The Olympian
The gym is crowded. Streets are full of runners and cyclists. Lots of folks are spending time working out, not only to get exercise, but to build the perfect summer body - lean, ripped and toned. There's a great way to lose the fat that covers your ...

and more »


KY3

Fit Friday: Build muscle at Jazzercise Strength class
KY3
He found out that Jazzercise is not just about just dancing. But, the Strength 60 class is about strength training as well. Dawn showed us 3 tricep exercises including tricep kickbacks. Here's how you do a tricep kickback; Start with a dumbbell in each ...



Yahoo Health

10 Meat-Based Meals Guaranteed To Build Muscle
Yahoo Health
People are scared of red meat, but if you eat the right kinds in the right amounts, it's totally fine. In fact, it's a great source of quality, muscle-building protein. Just take the recipes from the 21-Day Shred Cookbook for example. The Steak with ...



The Times (subscription)

Fitness First ready to build muscle after profit boost
The Times (subscription)
A punishing three-year regime to get Britain's biggest health club chain back in shape appears to be working. Fitness First, which has 377 clubs around the world, will reveal today that profits in the UK have started to improve after five years of ...

and more »


Get Stronger Without Moving: 5 Static Exercises That Burn Fat and Build Muscle
STACK News
While the majority of your workouts should consist of eccentric and concentric movements, isometric exercises can help you build muscle, burn fat and prevent injuries. For a fresh physical and mental challenge, try one of these static exercises next ...



Men's Fitness

5 Kettlebell Workouts to Build Serious Strength
Men's Fitness
Burn fat, build muscle, and amp your V02 Max with these fast-paced kettlebell routines. by Men's Fitness Editors. 5 Kettlebell Workouts to Build Serious Strength. Google +. We recently reported on a study that found kettlebells to be awesome tools for ...



Yahoo Food

7 Foods to Cheat Your Way to The Perfect Summer Body
Yahoo Food
Contrary to the popular belief that eggs increase fat, egg whites actually help build muscle which then burns the fat and helps tone your body. They also help you avoid overeating as they make you feel full. You can have them served as scrambled, egg ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.