Top 10 to Correcting Muscle Imbalance
human body is a movement system and is considered balanced if the joints create
motion consistent with their kinesiological standard. One of the most important
determinants of a balanced body (movement system) is posture and
alignment. The muscles surrounding each joint create force couples of equal
and opposite forces to act on the body parts the muscles attach to. These forces
(vectors) have direction and magnitude so a change in one of these forces will
alter how the joint functions about its involved axis of motion.
The faulty joint mechanics causes excessive or insufficient
stress to the joint and its supporting ligaments and tendons. The result is
indirect overuse as opposed to direct overuse. Faulty mechanics if not corrected
can start to cause irritation to the joint or soft tissues leading on to
worsening episodes of pain, aching, or stiffness.
The following corrective exercises and stretches are
generalized to cover common upper and lower body muscle imbalances. Besides,
Yoga and Pilates are two such examples of exercise
techniques that can improve muscle length,
flexibility, and agility,
if done correctly.
(This exercise is designed to reduce neck, shoulder, arm pain and numbness.)
Stand in doorway, arms stretched out to the side.
Lean torso into doorway allowing a stretch in your
pectorals (chest muscle) and shoulders.
Repeat with arms outstretched overhead to stretch the
other portion of your pectoral muscles.
(This is designed to reduce neck, shoulder, arm and hand pain and numbness.)
Turn thumbs out, roll shoulders up back and together.
Retract chin, inhale and hold breath for 5 seconds.
Relax shoulders, keep thumbs turned outward, exhale, jut
chin forward and repeat 4 more times.
Do this exercise 5 times a day to reverse postural
fatigue and muscular strain.
(This is designed to reduce neck and shoulder pain.)
Hold arms at the side with elbows squared
Move scapula (wing bone) away from midline (spine) by
tightening the Serratus Anterior muscle which attaches to your ribs at your
side and under your scapula.
Do not move your arms forward! Keep them in-line with
Reverse the process and tighten the wing bones together
and repeat 5 times.
(This is designed to reduce upper back pain.)
Start by sitting on the ball
Slowly walk your feet forward, and as you do, begin to
lay back until you can rest your head on the ball.
Reach your arms back over your head, and keep your feet
spread apart with knees bent.
Roll backwards until you feel a stretch in the mid and
lower back region and hold for 5-10 seconds.
Roll until you are looking straight up and hold for 5-10
Continue alternating between these 2 positions for 8-10
(These stretches are designed to relieve low back, buttocks and hip pain. This
strengthens and trains the gluteus and low back muscles to contract in the
correct order. This will stabilize the low back.)
Lay face down and keep your knees locked.
Slowly raise the leg contracting each muscle in order.
2. Glutues Maximus (butt)
3. Opposite side low back
Repeat to the first sign of fatigue
Note: It is imperative that the low back not contract
prior to the gluteus maximus
(Strengthens buttocks and quadriceps)
Sit on ball,
then walk forward (at the same time lie back) until just your head
and shoulders are on the ball. Let your hips and knees bend and
lower your buttocks
backward pelvic tilt as your buttocks until back ant thighs are
horizontal. Do not arch back!
Hold for 2-5
seconds, then relax lower buttocks and repeat 8-10 seconds.
bridge position, lift and strengthen one leg horizontal,
Hole for 2-5
sec., then return foot to the floor.
buttocks, repeat and alternate sides.
(Straightens hamstring muscles)
Lie along side a wall
Walk the ball up the wall with the other foot until it
rests behind the calf, keeping the knee straight.
Slide the buttocks closer or further from the wall until
a stretch is felt in the back of the thighs.
Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
(Stretches the buttocks and inner thigh)
From a standing position, take a large step forward with
your right foot until your feet are about 22 inches apart.
Lean into your right leg so it is bent at a 90 degree
angle and your knee is directly above your ankle
Put your hands on the floor for support or the leg not
Now slowly push your hips down and forward until you
feel a convertible stretch in your hips.
Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds and repeat
stretching the other side.
(Deep abdominal muscle/thigh stretch)
Keep back straight and slightly bent backward
Put one foot behind the other foot on an elevated
Keep knee at a 90degree angle and shift weight forward
feeling stretch in the groin of the side of the foot on the floor
Hold for 20-30 seconds.
(Stretches the hips, buttocks, and lower back)
Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended in
front of you.
Bend your right leg over your left leg, keeping your
right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.
Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee,
and extend your right arm behind you with your palm flat on the floor for
Slowly twist your upper body to the right while looking
over your right shoulder.
Lightly apply pressure with your left elbow on the
outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep your upper body
Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips,
buttocks, and lower back, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat.
A good way to know what muscles you need to use or stretch
during your day is to take a look at what motions and postures you are in
throughout the day and then do the opposite at various times during the day. If
you have to sit most of your day, then take a moment to stand up once an hour or
so. If your pelvis is posterior all day, tilt it forward on occasion. If your
back is slouching forward (in flexion), stop and straighten it and then gently
extend your spine backward (in extension). If your shoulders and head are
forward, roll your shoulders back, lift and open your chest; then straighten
your elbows and extend your arms back behind you rolling your palms out thumbs
up, fingers extended, and circle your wrists. Pretty simple, pretty obvious, yet
most of my clients don't think to do these simple actions.