Preventing Injury: Correcting Muscle Imbalnce

Corrective exercise is kind of the new kid in town, when it comes to exercise. It is also known to some as pre-hab, in that it helps prevent injuries before they have a chance to happen. We use corrective exercise quite a bit here at Blitz since most of the population has some muscular imbalance that, if unattended, can lead to injury.  Corrective exercise looks at dynamic motion, the trainer looks for any muscles that are over active. It is based on looking for muscle impairment during exercise, areas where there over active muscles, and under active muscles. When looking for muscle impairment during a dynamic assessment is not always easy to see. There a lot of areas you need to keep an eye on, and from different angles. The three main assessments are over-head squat, pull (row), and push (chest press), but there is also the one legged squat that can help determine where there is a muscle imbalance in the lower body.

During the over-head squat the client will go barefoot, as the trainer looks from three different angels from the front, from the side, and from behind. From the front the trainer looks at the knees either going in or out, and if the feet turn in or out. From the side the trainer is looking to see if the client is straight up, or has an excessive lean forward, if the low back arches, or rounds, and if the hands are falling forward. From the back the trainer is looking to see if the hips migrate to one side, or the other, if the heels are coming off the ground, and if the feet flatten.

For the push, and pull the trainer looks are roughly the same things for both, if the shoulders elevate, and if there is a head poke. During the push test the trainer is also looking to see if the low back rounds, or if the shoulder blades (scapulae) wing out.

Once the assessment is complete a program is the made up to help correct the problem areas. Almost all the programs have the same layout, lengthen, strengthen then integrate. Lengthening is done in two parts first by Self Myofascial Release (SMR), and then usually static stretching both are done on over active muscles this helps inhibit them, so they do not fire when they are not wanted. Strengthening is done on the under active muscles to help create a better signal from the brain to the correct muscles. Finally integrating a whole body movement, to really help the brain make the connection to the right muscles.

Corrective exercise does take more then one session to correct the imbalances, but you can also do the exercises on your own. During any of the exercises you must make sure to focus on technique, and the muscles you are using to complete the exercise are the right ones. With time, this form of exercise will allow you to move about with less pain and also challenge your body in new ways.


Steven Moore About Steven Moore

Passionate Personal Fitness Trainer, and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist at Blitz Conditioning. Prone to spurts of random nonsense. [Read my full bio]

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