YOUR BODY IS A MASTERPIECE
OF MUSCLES ATTACHED
TO JOINTS OF THE BODY!
The muscular system is responsible for the movement of human body. Attached to the bones of the skeletal system are about 700 named muscles that make up roughly half of a persons body weight. Each of the muscles is a discrete organ constructed of skeletal muscle tissue, blood vessels, tendons and nerves.ib
Muscles are either contracting or relaxing to cause movement, and groups of muscles act together to create motion. For example, to extend the knee a group of four muscles (the quadriceps) are activated. To flex the knee, an opposite group of muscles are activated (the hamstrings).
When the muscle contracts, the attachment points are pulled closer together; when it relaxes, the attachment points move apart.
Muscles contract and relax to move bones. The elbow joint bends (flexes) when muscles pull on the radius and ulna of the arm.
Everything is intertwined and no one muscle or muscle group acts entirely on its own.
For active people – amateur and professional athletes, active sport adults, workers, military personnel, and especially senior citizens – the ability of the body to move and perform naturally is directly associated with the balance and stability of their muscles, tendons, and joints.
Injuries or weaknesses to one or more muscles creates instability and imbalance and leads reduced physical performance. Muscle imbalance usually consists of two or more opposing muscles, one being overactive or too tight while the other is underactive or too loose.
Muscular weakness is one of the primary causes of musculoskeletal imbalance – which is a major culprit of many strains and lessened performance occurring during physical activities and workouts. The most common places for muscular imbalances are knees, hips and shoulders.
Muscular balance, also known as muscular symmetry refers to the state in which the muscles on both sides of a joint or the muscles that act in opposition to each other are well-developed and have similar strength and flexibility. Having good muscular balance is essential for overall musculoskeletal health and functional movement. Muscles in the body work in pairs or groups, with one muscle (agonist) contracting to produce a specific movement while the opposing muscle (antagonist) relaxes to allow that movement to occur smoothly. For example, when you bend your elbow, the biceps muscle contracts as the agonist, while the triceps muscle relaxes as the antagonist.
Having muscular balance helps ensure that the forces acting on joints are distributed evenly, reducing the risk of injury and promoting efficient movement. Here are some key aspects of muscular balance:
Symmetry: Muscular balance involves having similar muscle size and strength on both sides of the body. Imbalances can occur due to various reasons, such as favoring one side during certain activities or workouts, which may lead to an increased risk of injury and altered movement patterns.
Flexibility: Muscular balance also includes having balanced flexibility between muscle groups. Tight muscles can limit the range of motion in joints and increase the risk of strains or sprains. Proper flexibility training can help maintain joint mobility and reduce the risk of imbalances.
Stabilization: Muscular balance is crucial for joint stabilization. Muscles that act as stabilizers play a significant role in supporting joints during movement and maintaining proper alignment. Weak or imbalanced stabilizing muscles can lead to joint instability and compensatory movements, potentially leading to injuries.
Core Strength: A well-balanced core, which includes the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis, is vital for maintaining proper posture, stability, and efficient movement. Core strength helps protect the spine and provides a solid foundation for various athletic activities.
Cross-Training: Engaging in a variety of exercises and activities can promote muscular balance. Cross-training involves participating in different types of exercises and sports, which can help work different muscle groups and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
Correcting Imbalances with a FitAssess Assessment: The FitAssess Assessment identifies muscular instabilities, weaknesses and imbalances in the body - and provides targeted stretch-band exercises and corrective movements that can be incorporated into a prescriptive workout routine to address these issues.
Maintaining muscular balance is not only crucial for athletes but also for individuals engaging in everyday activities. Regular strength training, flexibility exercises, and along with regular FitAssess Assessments provide proper movement patterns can help promote muscular balance and overall musculoskeletal health, leading to improved performance, reduced risk of injury, and enhanced quality of life.
MUSCULAR DEFICIENCIES AND WEAKNESSES
Muscular deficiencies and weaknesses refer to situations where certain muscle groups are underdeveloped or lack the necessary strength and function compared to their counterparts or the ideal level required for optimal performance and daily activities. Muscular weaknesses can arise from various factors, including lifestyle habits, sedentary behavior, imbalanced training, injuries, or certain medical conditions. Here are some common examples of muscular deficiencies and weaknesses:
Asymmetrical Muscle Development: It is common for individuals to have imbalances in muscle development, where one side of the body is stronger or more developed than the other. This can result from favoring one side during activities or exercises, leading to asymmetrical strength and function.
Core Weakness: Weakness in the muscles of the core, including the abdominals, lower back, and pelvis, can lead to poor posture, lower back pain, and reduced stability during various movements and exercises.
Gluteal Weakness: The gluteal muscles, particularly the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus, are essential for hip stability, proper gait, and lower body strength. Weak glutes can contribute to lower back pain, hip issues, and compromised lower body performance.
Quadriceps-Hamstring Imbalance: The quadriceps (front thigh muscles) and hamstrings (back thigh muscles) should have a balanced strength relationship. However, in some individuals, the quadriceps can be significantly stronger than the hamstrings or vice versa, which may increase the risk of knee injuries.
Weak Rotator Cuff Muscles: The rotator cuff muscles, which stabilize the shoulder joint, are susceptible to weakness and imbalances, especially in individuals who perform repetitive overhead movements or lack proper shoulder conditioning.
Weak Hip Flexors: Sedentary lifestyles and prolonged sitting can lead to weak hip flexor muscles, which can negatively affect posture, hip mobility, and contribute to lower back pain.
Weak Ankle Stabilizers: Weakness in the muscles that stabilize the ankle joint can increase the risk of ankle sprains and impair balance and stability during weight-bearing activities.
Muscular Atrophy: Muscular atrophy refers to the wasting away or loss of muscle mass and strength. It can occur due to disuse, immobilization (e.g., prolonged bed rest or casting), or certain medical conditions.
Addressing muscular deficiencies and weaknesses usually involves targeted strength training and corrective exercises aimed at improving muscle balance and function. A well-rounded exercise program that targets all major muscle groups, incorporates functional movements, and includes flexibility and mobility training can help prevent and correct these imbalances.