Certified personal trainer, Dustin Mark McNeer, explains what a muscle imbalance is and how to correct the issue.
Most people tend to use one side of their body more often for everyday tasks. Minor actions like brushing your teeth, using your smartphone, and carrying groceries can add up over time to make one side of your body more dominant than the other. When you get in the gym, Dustin Mark McNeer explains that problems may arise from muscle imbalances. It can hinder your fitness performance and put you at higher risk for injury.
Additionally, muscle imbalances are related to poor posture. Many people suffer from strain, chronic pain, headaches, joint pain, back problems, and more as a result of poor posture. Sometimes, the body will try to compensate for the imbalance, which results in overcorrection. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that when overcorrection happens, it can cause even more strain on weaker muscles.
Small muscle imbalances can go unnoticed for a lifetime. For other people, fixing significant imbalances means increased flexibility, strength, and endurance. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends various strategies to clients that help equal strength on both sides of the body.
The first step is to create a workout routine with unilateral exercises only. Dustin Mark McNeer explains that single-arm and single-leg exercises highlight muscle imbalances. By breaking it up, one side of your body won’t be lifting more weight than the other. In most cases, people don’t even realize they’re leaning to one side or relying on one side more than the other.
Next, always start your workouts with the less dominant side of your body so that you have more energy to complete the exercise. Dustin Mark McNeer recommends letting that side set the pace for your entire workout, which means always do the same amount of reps on both sides. Even if it doesn’t feel like enough on your dominant side, your main goal is to achieve balance.
Dustin Mark McNeer suggests adding full-mobility exercises to your schedule every day, which can improve flexibility. If one side of your body isn’t as flexible as the other side, it can contribute to muscle imbalances. Consider stretching for ten minutes in the morning before work, and for twenty minutes at night before bed. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that yoga classes can also be an excellent way for beginners to build natural strength and increase flexibility.
Finally, make an effort to do everyday tasks with your non-dominant side. Although it may be difficult or feel weird at first, you will build more strength and coordination over time. Dustin Mark McNeer suggests starting with simple tasks like grabbing items off the shelves at the store with your non-dominant side. Eventually, you can work your way up to more complicated tasks like brushing your teeth or writing.
All of these exercises will help you have more awareness of your body overall and will help you stay mindful of your actions. Dustin Mark McNeer notes that persistence and consistency are vital for achieving the results you desire. Once the good habits are put into place, these exercises will come naturally every day.