Muscles are amazing. They serve so many functions that allow us to do all of the amazing activities we as fitness folk love to do. When they aren’t firing up and doing their job correctly we can get things such as pain, tightness, tingling, decreased range, ect. Ideally, we’d all have free moving joints and muscles that fire up properly to do their job when called upon. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for all of us. There are a few reasons why this might be happening, let’s take a look at them.
Tightness: When a muscle becomes too tight or shortened from being stuck in a particular posture it can affect the ability of the muscle to produce force and do the job it’s supposed to. What ends of happening is an altered ROM which can increase the chance of injury. A great example of this is tight pecs and weak back muscles from sitting at a desk, carrying a child, texting, ect. The head of the humerus will internally rotate forward putting your shoulder in a weak, unstable position. Then, if you load that joint by doing things like a heavy push press you have an increased risk for injury since your joint is no longer in stable position.
Weakness: An inhibited or weak muscle can also affect ROM and function of the joint it crosses. The muscle is not able to produce full force when necessary due to impaired communication between that particular muscle and the central nervous system. There are a few reasons why this may occur such as trauma, overuse and impaired movement mechanics. Since muscles work in opposition (as one muscle contracts, the muscle on the opposite side of the joint lengthens), when one is not firing up properly, muscles surrounding the joint will often tighten up in an effort to compensate.
Okay, so now we know what causes muscles to not work properly, here’s what we can do to fix it!
Mobility and stretching: Get your joint mobilized so that you can achieve better ROM and flexibility. It’s as easy as yoga, pilates and mobility work. Make them a part of your week and a priority. Pilates is especially beneficial since it works not only mobility but also stability!
Muscle activation & accessory work: Doing a few accessory moves such as bent over rows, good mornings, weighted hip extensions will fire up the muscles you need appropriately. It’s important to first determine what muscles might not be doing their job, and then find the appropriate exercises to repair them. Any of our trainers can assist with that!
So this week let’s get fired up, with the appropriate muscles that is!