Muscle imbalances can cause pain during and after a session of physical training. To minimize the pain and maximize your performance, it is pertinent that you test for muscle-related imbalances before you start your fitness session. What are imbalanced muscles? They occur when one muscle is or becomes stronger than an opposing muscle. For example, an individual who works an office job and spends too much time sitting down may inadvertently have their shoulders pulled forward. This creates a strength imbalance between the back of his or her body and the front.
It is important to ensure that you have a well-balanced foundation before taking on any strenuous exercises. With good mobilization and stabilization, you can avoid undesirable injuries. Let’s find out how you can identify muscle imbalances with the following evaluation tests.
Testing for Rotational Stability
From preventing back injuries to ensuring a safe run, core strength is a must-have factor for such activities. Before engaging in any physically demanding training, you must make sure that your midsection measures up. Get on all fours, extend your right leg and arm at the same time and ensure they are parallel to the ground. Now, bring both the right elbow and knee back underneath your body. Try touching them together and then return them to the extended position. Do the same thing for the left side after a few repetitions. If there is weakness in the core, you may rotate excessively and/or end up leaning too far to one side.
Testing with Split Squats
Split squats will test the stability of your foot, ankle, knee, and hip. If you perform the test correctly, you will be able to reveal any asymmetries as well as flexibility and mobility problems. Simply begin by standing with your right forward (make sure your left foot is directly behind it). Make sure that your feet are in line with one another. If you move your right foot backwards, the heel should touch the toes of your left foot. Hold your position and hold a dowel rod behind your back. It must run up and down along the spine.
Now descend (make sure you do it slowly) into lunge. Your back knee should drop straight down towards the ground. Complete a rep by returning to the starting position. If you do not have adequate strength in your quadriceps and hips, your front knee may dive in (it should be out). With that in mind, you need to strengthen your muscles to avoid injury while playing sports (especially sports that involve continuous jumping).
Testing for Trunk Stability with Push-Ups
This test involves a slight variation of the push-up. You begin by lying on the ground and then make sure they are aligned with your forehead (might need a little getting used to). You can also choose to place your hands directly under your chin if you are a female. Next, push up and try to maintain a flat back. Concentrate and once you have fully pushed up, drop back down and prepare for another repetition.
This test measures a number of attributes including your upper-body strength. Push-ups should occur in one fluid movement and if the lower back dips down, it usually means weakness in the core. You might want to get a trainer to help watch how your shoulder blades move to identify potential imbalances.
You are encouraged to put your form to the test today, and while these tests are great to perform at home, you are recommended to get evaluated by certified coaches so that subtleties can be captured before you start a fitness session.