By Coach and Owner of “Send Me A Trainer” Nadia Popova
With almost a decade of experience working as a personal trainer and now managing a team of personal trainers, muscle imbalances are a familiar topic to me.
Simply put, muscular imbalance is seen when the muscles that surround a joint provide different values of tension, sometimes weaker or tighter than normal, thus limiting the joint movement.
To summarize, muscle imbalances occur when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscle. – Dailyburn
Chances are that you’ve always known that one side of your body is stronger than the other. You always use the same arm to lift heavy objects, and the same leg to start climbing a flight of stairs. You consistently and unconsciously choose the stronger limb to get things done, because your brain knows that it would be more efficient than your weaker side. There are several reasons why one side of our body is usually stronger than the other. These can be natural (determined by your genes) or acquired due to habits or life events that contribute to muscle imbalance. Here are some reasons why one side of your body is stronger than the other:
Your genetics: 90% of the people reading this are right handed- That’s RIGHT, only 10% of the population are left-handed. Most of us have one dominant foot and arm, and in the majority of cases, it’s the right side. Handedness and footedness refer to which side of our body is dominant. You can move your dominant limb more easily and with higher precision to accomplish fine tasks. This means that you’ll be more likely to use your dominant arm and leg, which will make them stronger and bigger than the other side. This is determined by our genes which determine our brain’s anatomy.
Injury: If you’ve had an accident and had to immobilize one leg or one hand, you might develop muscle wasting on the injured side. Muscle wasting is when your muscles become atrophied (smaller and weaker) due to underuse. This happens when you fracture a limb and have to wear a cast for a few weeks. During this period, the muscles on your opposite side will become larger and stronger (hypertrophy), which causes muscle imbalance.
Your job: People who have manual jobs tend to have more muscle imbalance between sides. For example, if you’re a construction worker, you probably use your dominant hand to complete intense manual tasks all day. This usually means that one arm will be much stronger and bigger than the other.
Your sleep position: If you always tend to sleep on the same side, there’s a good chance that side will atrophy and become weaker.
Lifestyle habits: Other life habits like always holding the grocery bags using the same hand, or always crossing your legs in the same position will make one side of your body stronger than the other
HOW TO CORRECT YOUR MUSCLE IMBALANCES?
Here’s what you can do on your own:
Sleep on one side at the beginning of the night and then turn over in the middle of the night
When carrying groceries, try to use the side you don’t typically use to hold them. Consider packing lighter bags and distributing the weight evenly between both sides.
Hold your phone at eye level and pay attention to your posture. Better yet, give your phone a break!
Shift your weight from side to side when standing.
A knowledgeable trainer can help you identify your muscle imbalances and create a specific training program to correct the muscle imbalances in your body.
First thing Personal Trainer will assess your current Body Mechanix and after the assessments have been performed, a corrective exercise program can be developed. Corrective exercise is defined as “the systematic process of identifying a neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction, developing a plan of action, and implementing an integrated corrective strategy”.
Try to work with your personal trainer to figure out what comes next at each stage of your training, and focus on whether any muscles are bigger, or stronger than their counterparts. Usually, the most effective way to fight back against asymmetric muscles is by making sure that your dominant side doesn’t end up with more exercise volume than your weaker one, and adding extra intensity to your muscle groups.
Overcoming imbalances is all about training lagging muscle groups more intensely than you have done in the past. You can do this by increasing your weekly volume, pushing harder for progressive overload, and working with heavier weights
The more you focus on avoiding muscle imbalance, the less likely it is that you’ll need to adjust for specialization workouts in the future.
If you have muscular imbalances, you can correct them with focused training. More importantly, consider working with a personal trainer or a training specialist from “Send Me A Trainer”. We can help you in identifying and correcting any imbalances you may have.
For a Free Consultation please reach out to (760) 880-9904 or visit our website www.sendmeatrainer.com