You would not pick up sand to build a strong foundation for your house. Would you? Same is the case with our bodies. Muscle imbalances occur when one muscle is stronger and healthier than its opposing muscle.
For example, working on the computer for a longer period of time can lead to your shoulders leaning forward and your lower part of the body backward. This might not be of much concern immediately as this muscle imbalance has its effects come later in life. One must identify and treat this muscle imbalance, or it will eventually take you to a more serious kind of injury.
To identify these muscle imbalances and wrong moving patterns, therapists have designed five assessment tests to diagnose muscle imbalance and estimate injury risk. These tests will grade you on a scale of 0 to 3. 0 will be for painful movement while 3 will be for perfect balance. Then a complete score is obtained for the entire procedure which is helpful in predicting the probability of getting injured. The results of this test can be applied to a large population from children to athletes.
It is always advised to perform these tests in the presence of a therapist so that slight irregularities and imbalances in muscle movements can be captured and treated accordingly.
Below is a brief account of these five tests:
1. Deep Squat
A deep squat is done by holding a rod overhead while sitting on knees and then you need to do a squat before pushing through the heels to stand up.
It is difficult to keep knees over ankles due to the limitation of the hips. It is important that one must not lean forward as it will give strain to the spine. Poor spinal position indicates inflexibility and lack of movement due to hips.
2. Split Squat
This movement pattern will put lower body portion stability to the test. Many individuals lack the adequate strength in the lower back area to control their knee while performing a lunge. Real success is to control the knee movement.
3. Rotational Stability
This assessment tests how the mid-section of the body behaves. This assessment starts with the extension of the right arm and right leg until they are parallel to the floor. Then repeat this step for the left side.
4. Hurdle Step Over
This test evaluates two things, first the iso -lateral balance, which means if both the hips are equally balanced. Second, it tells about the hip and ankle mobility. If one has movement restricted in that area, they won’t be able to lift their hip high enough.
5. Trunk Stability Push-Up
Push up is a very commonly done exercise. But this type of push up is done a bit differently. It is performed for males and females differently. For males, they place their hands aligned to their forehead while females start by their hands aligned with their chin. The push up should be achieved with a continuous and fluid movement. If while doing this exercise the lower back goes down that the normal position then it can indicate weakness.
Whatever exercise we do, the muscle changes do not happen overnight. It takes proper training and time for them to go back to normal function.