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Post by Canuck Singh on Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:56 am

alance Training
To your average bodybuilder, balanced training might mean relatively equal sets of quads, hamstrings, calves, abs, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. More training for the “bigger” muscle groups and some extra for the lagging body parts should bring you to a nice balance.

If movement patterns are more relevant to you, you might define balanced training as using the patterns equally. So you’ll have a 1:1 ratio of hip dominant/knee dominant movements and vertical/horizontal pushes and pulls. That seems to make more sense, but what about the people who sit at a desk all day? They obviously need more of something to fix their postural issues.

In "Diagnoses and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes", author S. Sahrmann suggests that the causes of deviations in joint movement patterns are repeated movements and sustained postures.

If your triceps can support a 275-lb bench and your chest is capable of 315 lbs, what will you bench? Fix the weak link. You’ll typically see a division of chest and shoulders (horizontal pushes and vertical pushes) but rarely a separation of back, which lumps the horizontal and vertical pulls into one category. This alone could cause some imbalances.

Of course, you have to ask yourself if muscles are true antagonists or not. For instance, both the lats and the pec major internally rotate the arms (the palms turn toward the thighs). So if you have problems with one muscle, there will be downstream effects on other joints.

A good assessment from a qualified professional and you should be able to patch up any potential flaws in programming before they are realized. Then, get strong, assess, and reassess along the way. No one said that “corrective” exercises had to be easy.

There are places that are more common than others for producing energy leaks—tight hip flexors, pecs, lats, or a weak glute medius. Balanced training should keep or put you in optimal alignment. Find out what it takes to get there and stay there.

* If you have been using body part splits for any length of time, stop—at least for a while. There’s always a time and a place for them, but the research and anecdotal evidence favors higher frequency over higher volume. If you've been bench pressing too much, try stretching your posterior rotator cuff muscles. They all play roles in depressing the humeral head. An emphasis on chest and shoulders over time will cause an injury if you don’t account for the training on all antagonists.

* Work on getting full range of motion in all of the movements and get proficient at them.

Sahrmann S (2002) Diagnoses and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes. Mosby, Inc.
- Ryan Patrick is a graduate student in health and exercise science at Colorado State University.
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