You wake up, you eat, you lift, and you do it all over again. And again, and again and again. We spent years developing the sports specific strength we needed and if you were in a good S&C program the general strength base. However, over time that left our bodies with imbalances. We became a finely tuned machine to do our one job, to fulfill our role on the field court or pitch. However, over time many of us neglected to balance out the scales and while I was functional for my sport when I was done, I had a lot of work to do to balance out my body.
Our bodies were designed for balance, antagonistic muscle groups set up to reside in harmony. A lot of the sports specific training will focus on one half of the group, like the quadriceps, while not emphasizing the same importance on the hamstrings. All of this goes to say you can still be fit and strong but over time those imbalances will either lead to injury, compensation, or chronic issues. For a while I had all three, like I mentioned in an earlier post I turned to yoga and physical therapy to help me correct. Some of you may not be as a bad and can get away with DIY it on YouTube.
A lot of it can be chalked up as overuse injuries, these were common in the athletes that came in when I worked at a physical therapy clinic. We saw more of them for something being out of whack and a simple imbalance more often than glaring musculoskeletal issues. The rotational components in the tend to be a common area of imbalance leading to back, knee and hip pains. From a study published in 2002, “ athletes with lower extremity overuse or acquired ligamentous injuries were significantly more likely to require treatment for LBP during the ensuing year (26). Various other factors have been reported to be associated with LBP, including poor muscle endurance, altered muscle firing rates, muscular imbalance, inflexibility of the lower extremities, and leg length discrepancies” To put it plainly these imbalances make you a less efficient athlete and more at risk for injury.
These principals still apply, and I would argue are more important in your daily life now in comparison to when you were playing. Now you do not have the same support system around you to check these imbalances and must be more consciously aware of it. The beauty of training these imbalances out is that it doesn’t require a lot of weight or a lot of time. Like anything else worth doing it simply requires consistent effort. A lot of the movements and re-training can be done with low weight to body weight and controlled movement. Even things as simple as Yoga and Tai Chi can drastically help improve the day-to-day balance. I can’t speak for everyone but simply adjusting these imbalances helped to alleviate a lot of the pain I had after I was done. Go to YouTube and find a video showing you how to find and work through some of these imbalances. I want you to watch one of the videos (UCSF has a good one) and work on your imbalances once a day for a week.