An Athletic Trainer’s Tip: Avoid Muscle Imbalances and Avoid Injury

NATM_2013_2blueAccording to Sir Isaac Newton and his third law of physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and this holds true with the human body. If your right arm moves forward when you throw, the left goes back. As you jump you push your legs down and arms up. When your right leg steps forward, your left arm goes forward, right arm back, left leg ‘moves’ back (actually body goes forward, but in effect leg is going back). Everything balances out.

If right and left, front and back, and everything stay in balance, all is good. But often that is not the case. The right arm may be tighter than the left. Your quadriceps may be much stronger than your hamstrings.  All sorts of imbalances can occur, and when they do they often lead to injury. When the right arm is tighter than the left, it pulls on the spine, which in turn pulls on the left shoulder muscles. This can result in pain or injury in the back, and or left shoulder. When the quads are considerably stronger than the hamstrings they overpower them and cause the hamstrings to weaken and eventually tear. Any imbalance in the body can lead to injury.

The good news is that injury can often be prevented in the imbalances are detected in time. An athletic trainer or other trained professional can do screenings of the body looking for imbalances, and when one is found its nature can be determined and the athletic trainer can then develop a proper strengthening and/or flexibility program to correct the problem. But you can also do things on your own to try and prevent these imbalances from happening. Make sure that you are always properly stretching all muscles after workouts. You also need to make sure that you are strengthening and conditioning all muscles equally. If you’re working out and stretching your chest muscles, don’t forget the back. If you’re strengthening and stretching quads, do the same with the hamstrings. If you’re stretching your right shoulder after pitching, make sure you stretch your left.

If you take care of all parts of your body equally, you should be able to prevent injury, but if at any point a problem arises, don’t hesitate to consult an athletic trainer. If you take care of a small problem when you first notice it, you can usually prevent it from becoming a big one…

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March is National Athletic Training Month: Every Body Needs An Athletic Trainer


About Douglas Sawyer, MS, ATC

I am an athletic trainer who is also a very avid athlete. My first love is running, but I also love cycling and triathlons and many other activities. I'm not a swimmer though, I just don't drown for 2.4 miles... As a athletic trainer I work with sports injuries. I currently work at a school with athletes in 7th-12th grade in a wide variety of sports. I can be found on twitter at two different names: @IronmanLongRunr - where I tweet about run, bike, tri, & more @Longrunr - where I tweet about athletic training
This entry was posted in #AT4All, #AT4EveryBody, #ATsPrepareNY, #NATM2013, #NATM2015, #NYNATM2015, AT4All, Athlete, Athletics, ATsPrepareNY, Every Body Needs An Athletic Trainer, Injury, Injury Prevention, Medical, National Athletic Training Month, NATM, NATM2015, NYNATM2015, Prevention, Running, Running Injury, Sports, Sports Medicine, Swimming, Training, Triathlon, Youth Safety and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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