Friday, March 16, 2018

Muscle Imbalance - A Throwers Problem?

Many athletes, including baseball and softball position players and pitchers, quarterbacks, tennis and volleyball players, are becoming over-developed on their dominant/throwing/serving side.  Muscle imbalance can cause serious muscular-skeletal problems and prevents you from performing at your fullest potential.  The stronger you can make your weaker side (the side you rarely use) the more resistance you can create with your body.

Pitching, throwing, serving and hitting all require you to create resistance with your weaker side. Whether you pitch, throw, serve, swing or spike, the stronger you make your weaker side, the better your performance will be

It is believed: “About 65 percent of injuries—both athletic and lifestyle-related—come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances,"

How it Happens:
Your opposing muscles and muscle groups are supposed to work together. Those muscles must be balanced in terms of strength, flexibility, and even posture to be efficient and to prevent injuries. Here are some examples of muscle pairs and the movements they enable:
  • Biceps and triceps help bend and straighten the elbows.
  • Deltoids and latissimus dorsi lift and lower the arms.
  • Abdominals and erector spinae bend the spine forward and backward.
  • Quadriceps and hamstrings bend and straighten the knee.
  • Hip abductors and adductors move the legs toward each other or apart.

Who's At Risk?
For non-athletes, a simple daily activity such as picking up groceries, working at a computer, sitting in one position for a long time, or lifting a child can cause muscle imbalance over a period of time.

But for athletes, muscle imbalance is likely to be an overuse issue as a result of a particular motion used in their respective sports.  Weight lifters often develop the pectorals (chest muscles), while neglecting the muscles in the upper back (trapezius).

Pitchers in baseball often develop one arm and one side of the side without giving equal attention to the opposite arm/side.

In tennis, there is a condition informally called “gorilla arm,” which happens after years of doing almost every motion with the dominant arm to the detriment of the non-dominant arm.

Many conditions are caused by muscle imbalance. For instance, patellofemoral pain results from a band of muscle tissue that pulls the kneecap outward so that it grinds against the groove in which it lies. Runners’ knee, jumpers’ knee, low back pain, and Achilles tendinitis are other common athletic injuries directly or indirectly caused by muscle imbalance.

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