Be Your Own Best Detective For Muscular Balance
Why is it when you get past one minor ache only to get another or does one cause the other. A few posts ago I blogged about fixing my latest shoulder / neck pain with reflexology. Seems that dragging the dog on a walk that doesn’t want to stay in front is tough on the posterior shoulder that may translate down to the hip. Which causes which pain? The reflexology in previous post helped some but not enough to keep the pain away for long enough.
I hope that you reading this post will help inspire you to be your own best detective to find a solution to what ever aches or pains you may encounter during life during your fitness programs or as you dust off the cobwebs of an inactive body or an unbalanced body.
Check Yourself & Inspect Yourself…(that is if you don’t have professionals like Energy Fitness doing functional movement and assessments on you and taking pics)
- Look in the mirror and compare sides, put your fingers on your hips to make sure that are even.
- What about your shoulders? Is one side lower?
- Is one shoulder rounded more than the other?
- Have someone take pictures of you at different angles and study them for non-symmetrical issues
- Lie on the floor on your back and raise your feet to ceiling with your legs straight. Are your legs even? If not, it could be that your lat muscle (near back of your armpit) which we will call your upper quarter is shortened/tight.
- Not your lat muscle? Maybe it’s your QL (quadratus lumborum) which is located on your lower quarter (low back). The QL is worked by lateral/side bending the spine from top down or hip hiking bottom up (bringing your ribs closer to each other). It also extends the spine (backbend). This muscle runs diagonally from hip (illiac crest, top back part of pelvis) to lower lumbar/back vertabrae and the 12th rib.
- Let’s try your upper quarter. Try lying on your side on a foam roller with your armpit just hanging on top of roller. Move your arm that is over the foam roller in a 90 degree flexion movement to ground and back up as if waving. See how one side compares tenderness or soreness to the other side. It could be your serratus anterior or posterior. The posterior helps to elevate the ribs during inhalation. The anterior helps you exhale quickly.
- Okay, we could test all day but lets tuck your arm under your side and roll your shoulder muscle (deltoid). The deltoid has 3 heads, anterior (front), middle and posterior (back). You can roll the anterior and middle with arm tucked to your side whilst you need your arm over the roller or trigger point ball or how ever else you may attack compressing it to release.
- Are you crossing your legs at the knees or feet?
- Are you having poor posture at the computer?
- Do you turn your head to one direction more than the other? Why?
I tried those mentioned above then had to dive deeper. Now I am attacking my shoulder at the hip level. I am pinpointing a few of my hip flexor muscles with compression therapy. Using a push up handle at the gym this morning I discovered the front of the right hip is oh so tender. Using my human anatomy knowledge combined with a few anatomy apps I have narrowed it down to these muscles:
Sartorius: This muscle got its name from its function of putting the leg in a cross-leg position, which is a common position for tailors. A muscle activated when standing on one leg or other balance activities.
Rectus Femorus: One of the 4 quadriceps muscles. It is located in the middle of the front of the thigh. It is responsible for knee extension and hip and thigh flexion. It is a major hip flexion muscle.
Illiacus: This muscle is one that is activated during the yoga boat pose (sitting on your butt with your legs off ground at a 45 degree angle while you lean back slightly with your upper torso).
Tensor Fasciae Latae: climbing or running on sloped surfaces or running around a track that causes medial rotation of the upper leg. Bingo!!! I have been doing track work and even though I do an equal distance changing directions around the track, The corners may be too much for the hip. I’m gonna try just doing my sprint work on the same paths I do longer runs and see it that does the trick. Sometimes just talking out or retracing your activities or lack of activity may be the clue you needed to fix the issue. I will have to let you know how it works out.
In the meantime, let me know if I can help you in any way with something you may be struggling with currently or that is a recurring problem.
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Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, LMT, TPI Level 1
Owner/Dir. of Training
(Club 29 Fitness Inc.)