sPEAKing our mind Body Symmetry –Finding Our Balance
Have you ever wondered why we lean a certain way or tend to have problems on a certain side of our body? Many of these abnormalities are because we lack certain symmetry on the inside of our bodies. Most of us took anatomy, but how many of us realized the different sizes and different places our main organs are located? This is not a problem, but postural issues and muscles imbalances can happen if we don’t resolve this asymmetry. This blog will give you a PEAK into understanding your body better (inside and out) and some solutions to keeping it running like a well-oiled machine (clank-clank).
Great news! No, there is no magic bean or wonder drink that can fix all our problems, but with focused strength training and a better understanding of your body and its functions you and your body can be on the same page.
Let’s talk about our strength training program first. We tend to concentrate on strengthening our “mirror muscles”. Some examples are chest, quads, abs, shoulders, biceps and triceps. You’re probably aware of where these muscles are. The problem with that is that most of those muscles are located on the front of our body. What about our backside mechanics? They are JUST as important as the frontside mechanics. We need to be cognizant that when left to fend for themselves, certain muscles aren’t going to turn themselves on.
Next in our discussion is what we like to call the lazy or whiny muscles. We’ll start with the glutes. BUTT why are my glutes considered lazy? It’s not their fault! Most of us spend a lot of time sitting during the day. When you’re in a seated position, your hip flexor is contracted (or in an active state) while the glute muscles are stretched (inactive or a very relaxed state). They don’t understand anything different, so they tend to remain inactive. Some examples of glute exercises include: single leg piston squats, banded donkey kicks, glute bridges and band walks. Let’s pick on the abs next. Our abdominal muscles are also affected by inactivity. The rectus abdominis muscles sit at the front, the obliques along the sides and the transverse abdominis, is the deepest abdominal muscle and wraps around the sides of your body. These abs, much like your glutes stay inactive during long periods of sitting. Who doesn’t want to be able to walk around the pool comfortably? While we’re giving our love and undivided attention to the rectus abdominis, the oblique and transverse abdominals are left in the dark. These ab muscles play a very important role in our body’s movement: the external and internal obliques are mostly used for bending and the rotating of our bodies. The transverse abdominis muscle develops inward and is sometimes referred to as the Spanx of the abdominal muscles. We need to strengthen these too! Think about ab exercises that have your body “drawing in”, “opened up” or “twisting to the side” (i.e. plank variations, bicycles, front and side jack knife, stir-the-pot, bear crawls, stomach vacuum etc.).
If you do not have a personal trainer, we challenge you to self-educate on what the muscles of your body do for you. Especially if you have issues and you and your body are not getting along…..it can be a relationship building experience
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