The only thing worse than digging ourselves into a hole, is to keep digging ourselves deeper after we realize it. If we have imbalances in our musculoskeletal structure, we can make these problems worse with poor posture, incorrect exercise technique or an improper choice of muscle groups we focus on in the gym.
Here are some places we commonly get our muscles out of balance:
Our hip flexors can become too tight from spending too much time sitting down at the TV or the computer. As the hip flexors shorten they become tighter, causing the pelvis to rotate and tilt downwards. The glutes begin to lengthen in response and in doing so, they weaken. Our hamstrings take over the work of the glutes, making themselves much more prone to injury.
Many of us are a little weak between the shoulder blades. This has mainly to do with our sitting down/sedentary lifestyles, but ironically, can be made worse when we decide to visit the gym. Most people work heavily on their chest (pectorals and anterior deltoids) with push-ups and bench press, but spend very little time working on their backs (rhomboids and trapezius). This causes, short, strong muscles in the front of the body which pulls our shoulders forward, causing the muscles in the back to become longer and weaker. The result: back pain.
It’s Saturday night - time to put on those high heels! The problem is by standing up on our toes all night, us ladies tend to develop a very tight gastrocnemius which, along with the other muscles of the calf, tends to rotate and flatten the position of our feet. This can leave us prone to plantar fasciitis and ankle injuries.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, but it’s safe to say that most of us experience at least one of these issues to some degree. The point is that before we begin to exercise, we need to take stock of our posture to make sure that by improving our bodies in some areas, we aren’t making others worse. Approaching our fitness with the entire person in mind will keep us from creating holes we need to dig ourselves out of later.