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Muscle Imbalances Bringing You Down? Here’s What You’ve Got To Do:

A muscle imbalance happens when you have one set of muscles that are beating the surrounding muscles in strength and size. For example, you could have bigger and stronger pecs (chest) than your lats (the muscle on your back to the side, they give you the V shape). 

Having bigger muscles can put you at risk of injury and can seriously flush all your hard work down the toilet. Having a muscle that is weaker than the rest means that your other muscles need to work even harder which will eventually lead to bad posture. 

Normally, muscle imbalances happen in the areas that are meant to be mobile, like your hips, or shoulders. But, they can happen anywhere. 

So, what does it look like when you’ve got a muscle imbalance and how do you know if you’ve got it? 

Well, these are the 4 most common muscle imbalances and some solutions, but if you’re unsure, you should visit your doctor. 

1- Rounded Shoulders

Image Credits - Medical News Today

Test: Ask someone to take a picture of you shirtless in a side pose. If you are able to see any part of your upper back, then you most likely have rounded shoulders. 

Cause: Spending far too much time on a computer at work, and then isolating your chest muscles like mad at the gym; meaning your pecs get tight and pull your shoulders forward. 

Solution: You’ll need to strengthen your back muscles to balance things out. You’ll need to quit skipping the stretches, too. Take the time to stretch out your muscles after a workout; it really does help keep things balanced. 

Try this exercise: 

Chest-Supported Dumbbell Row: 

  1. Get a hold of an adjustable bench and set it at a low incline. 
  2. Lay on the bench face down with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, palms facing each other. 
  3. Slowly pull your shoulder blades together, pulling the dumbbells back, but don’t let your elbows get past your ribcage.

2- Sway Back 

Test: If you’ve got sway back, then you’ll know because you’ve probably got a hunchback as well. 

Cause: It’s got a lot more to do with how you sit at your desk than your workout. 

Solution: The first thing you’ve got to do is work on adjusting how you sit at your desk to work, drop the chair, lift your laptop up, whatever gets you to sit properly. You’ll need to go through these stretches before your next workout. 

The stretches: 

Cat-Camel: 

  1. If you’ve ever done yoga, then you’ll know this pose all too well. 
  2. Grab a mat then get into tabletop position (palms on the floor in line with your shoulders, knees on the floor in line with your hip, and your back straight). 
  3. Push your back as low as possible (you should look a bit like a cat). 
  4. Reach your back up toward the ceiling (you should look like you have a camel’s hump). 

Segmental T/S Extension:  

  1. Grab a foam roller and lay it underneath you so that it’s over your mid-back. 
  2. Get your hands behind your head with your buttocks on the floor. 
  3. Pull your body backward on the roller keeping your neck neutral. 

3- Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Test: Get one of your belts and put it on, which direction is your buckle pointing to? If it’s pointing forward, then you have nothing to worry about. But, if it’s pointing toward the ground, then you probably have APT. 

Cause: You’ve probably been working out your legs a little too much and haven’t been focusing on your lower back which is why your pelvis is tilting forward. 

Solution: You’re going to need to stretch things out and work on your lower back as well as your upper back the next time you’ve got back day. 

The stretches: 

Hip Flexor/RF Stretch: 

  1. Get into lunge position with a bench behind you, rest your back knee on the ground. 
  2. Lift your back foot onto the bench, keeping your back knee on the floor. 
  3. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. 

Dead bugs: 

  1. Grab a mat and lay down on the floor with your knees in the air and your arms up in the air, keeping everything in line. 
  2. Lift your butt off of the ground, keeping your lower back flush on the floor. 
  3. Reach one of your arms to the opposite leg, go back to your starting position, and repeat with your other arm.

4- Forward Neck 

Image Credits - Posture Medic

Test: Go to a doorway and walk through it, what was the first thing that past the door frame, your head or chest? If your head past first, then you probably have forward neck. 

Causes: Next time you send a text message, remember that you should be lifting your arms to your eye level not pulling your neck down to look at your phone. 

Solution: You need to strengthen the muscles deep in your neck through stretching. 

The stretch: 

Quadruped Chin Tucks:

  1. Grab a mat and get into tabletop position. 
  2. Imagine you’ve got a double chin and pull your neck to your chest. 
  3. Now, pull your neck back up keeping your head in the same position. 

If you are ever unsure of something that is happening with your body, then you really need to consult with your doctor. 

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