Identifying Muscle Imbalances?

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    Sep 26, 2013 11:33 PM GMT
    I once heard you can tell if your chest or back is overpowering the other by where your hands are when they hang to the side. If they are in front of your body your chest is overpowering your back, if they are behind then your back is overpowering.

    I'm not sure if any of that is true, but any way to tell if your muscles are imbalanced? Like quad vs ham, bicep vs tricep, chest vs back. I'm sure everyone is imbalanced to some degree but how do u know when it could start leading to injury?




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    Sep 27, 2013 4:30 AM GMT
    I would think that has a lot to do with posture and bone structure as well. I try to balance my muscles by approximating what I can push and pull for any muscle group, i.e. if you can bench 100 you should strive to row 100. (just using that for an example, I can bench 150 icon_smile.gif

    I once took a ballet class where the instructor taught that the majority of people tend to carry their shoulders too far forward, (in performers this collapses the chest and detracts from presentation) so when I think about posture I try to pull my chest up and shoulders back and down. Unfortunately that is only when I think about my posture.

    I hope that other people can contribute to this thread, I am curious to know more!
  • WHGUY25

    Posts: 1

    Sep 27, 2013 1:10 PM GMT
    It is posture and it all depends how you sleep as well, never curl your body when sleeping and durning the day keep your back stight and dont slump over. Yoga is a good exercise to keep your posture perfect because you are bending alot to make you more flexable.
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    Sep 27, 2013 1:32 PM GMT
    IRFire66 saidI once heard you can tell if your chest or back is overpowering the other by where your hands are when they hang to the side. If they are in front of your body your chest is overpowering your back, if they are behind then your back is overpowering.

    I'm not sure if any of that is true, but any way to tell if your muscles are imbalanced? Like quad vs ham, bicep vs tricep, chest vs back. I'm sure everyone is imbalanced to some degree but how do u know when it could start leading to injury?






    If your shoulders have a "rolled forward" or hunched look naturally, you're doing way too much chest work and you need to focus on strengthening your rear delts, lower/middle traps, and rhomboids. A lot of it is posture as well. I realized that issue earlier this year, and I've been working my way back for the last few months. Almost all the way back, thank god.

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    Sep 27, 2013 2:08 PM GMT
    Yes with your hands naturally to their side ... if the palms start facing behind you then your chest is being overdeveloped compared to your back / shoulders.
  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Sep 27, 2013 2:44 PM GMT
    t0mb0mb said

    I once took a ballet class where the instructor taught that the majority of people tend to carry their shoulders too far forward,


    I had physio for a shoulder problem, the physio said I'd notice that nearly everyone at the gym would have their shoulders too far forward & high. She was right
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    Sep 27, 2013 8:02 PM GMT
    There's an app for that.
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    Sep 27, 2013 10:15 PM GMT
    IRFire66 saidI once heard you can tell if your chest or back is overpowering the other by where your hands are when they hang to the side. If they are in front of your body your chest is overpowering your back, if they are behind then your back is overpowering.

    I'm not sure if any of that is true, but any way to tell if your muscles are imbalanced? Like quad vs ham, bicep vs tricep, chest vs back. I'm sure everyone is imbalanced to some degree but how do u know when it could start leading to injury?


    Chest more than back: forward and rounded shoulders, difficult to bring your shoulder blades down and in and maintain it there for the duration of the day. Chronic: contributes to impingement syndrome, tendinosis, and/or RC tears.

    Quad more Glutes/hams: important in running gait. Not enough glute/hip muscle recruitment leads to quad dominance, leading to issues with knee and hip joint degeneration long-term. More significant for long-distance runners. But sprinters, you get the most power and speed form them butts.

    Most of the patients I've seen in the orthopedic/sports clinic have overdeveloped/tight chest muscles and weak mid/lower traps and RC muscles, leading to impingement and for those more chronic who didn't correct things, RC tears.

    Those with hip and knee pain, usually saw poor recruitment and/or strength of the gluteus group, but relatively strong quads.

    How do you know when it could be starting to lead to injury: you experience unfamiliar and consistent pain in the respective joint(s) (or joints further down that may rely on the strength of particular muscles, e.g. knees and glutes) without any known traumatic event.
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    Sep 28, 2013 4:46 PM GMT
    Related...? Perhaps I should post this on it's own thread.

    Q: I've had several physical therapists tell me my shoulder-blades stick out too much. I've revved up my back routine significantly to help balance this issue (my chest was more developed, etc.) but I'm wondering if there might be any specific exercises that can help pull those blades in tighter/closer to my back?

    Greatly appreciated.
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    Sep 30, 2013 4:51 AM GMT
    -Face pull with external rotation using dumbbells or a cable machine (standing, lying face up, or face down on an incline bench, lots of variations). This is great for the mid and lower back, when done right (your end position after the concentric phase should be in the classic double-biceps pose). If you can't maintain a good upright posture during this, you can perform it supine on a bench.


    -"Y"s and "W"s on bench, floor, stability ball, with cables, etc. Make sure these are done right, or you're hitting the wrong muscles, usually the UTs kick in like crazy instead of the LTs and MTs. Get someone to help you when you first start out. Have them feel the area between your spine and the inferior angle (bottom-most point) of the shoulder blade. As you do these exercises, THOSE muscles should kick in. Also, have them feel your UTs or just observe them. If they are kicking in instead, you're doing it incorrectly. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and in, like you're going to put each shoulder blade in the opposite back pocket. You may have to try it without weights first to get the movement right.

    -Pulldowns or pullovers if you think your lats are lacking (pull ups, if you can). For pulldowns/pull ups: Get the full range; meaning you return to a "dead hang" position after each rep and you pull the bar to your chest, to get the best lat and mid back activation. And right before you pull down, you always activate those shoulder blades, "down and in". It becomes second nature after some practice; I definitely felt a difference.

    -What's also good are the "lifting" diagonals with the band or a cable machine.

    -And if they wing: you can work out those serratus anterior muscles, e.g. push up pluses, those pullovers also hit them, overhead presses, and "pec shrugs" are some.

    Like mentioned earlier, compound exercises are great and I love them to death (they're more fun and usually more functional), but if there are weak key muscles, injury may be imminent; this is where isolation-like exercises have their place. I hope that helps some. I tend to rant and be long-winded, so sorry for the longer-than-necessary post. :]

    Some of this stuff may be contrary to some of what seasoned bodybuilders on RJ do or believe, but I'm biased, being a part of the PT world.
  • Bicuriouscool

    Posts: 233

    Oct 10, 2013 5:32 AM GMT
    Scruffypup saidThere's an app for that.

    Send me the link