How does one know if one has muscular imbalance?
How far does one have to go to get muscular imbalance?
How do you fix it?
How do you build a program that ensures you won't get it?
Pain, bad posture
You train the weak muscles
Do symmetrical compound exercises (those will force your muscles to work together in a reasonable way), good form, avoid using machines and isolation exercises unless you know what you are doing.
Got info graphics on opposite groups?
Also, a dumb question: if I do pushups and pullups, do these work opposite groups or not necessarily?
Is the opposite of the biceps the triceps? If so, should I balance shoulder presses with French presses?
And another: do pushups and pullups use the same muscles? If you pull and push with the same movements, are the same muscles activated or are there muscles for one direction and other muscles for another?
>When you lengthen your arm, which muscle is flexed?
>When you do a 90 degree with your arm, which muscle is flexed?
Provided you mean "forward" when you say "lengthen" and if that 90 degrees is vertical and not horizontal.
A muscle can contract or lengthen - when you do a push up you are contracting your pecs and your triceps to simultaneously increase the distance of your hands from your body and to straighten your arms.
In other words, each muscle will generate force in one direction. Your pecs can't generate force unless they are contracting, or pushing your arms away from you. When your arms are bending your triceps relax and lengthen while your biceps contract.
So, pullups use a different set of muscles. In a pullup you are hanging first, which uses various forearm muscles to grip the bar. Then as you bring your chin towards the bar you engage a number of large back muscles like the lats, the rhomboids, and the rotator cuff muscles on top of the scapula which are responsible for the position and rotation of your arms.
That was a oversimplified explanation, so you should probably learn some anatomy. It's very interesting and it will help you to know how your muscles work.
>So, pullups use a different set of muscles. In a pullup you are hanging first, which uses various forearm muscles to grip the bar. Then as you bring your chin towards the bar you engage a number of large back muscles like the lats, the rhomboids, and the rotator cuff muscles on top of the scapula which are responsible for the position and rotation of your arms.
I can do a few real pushups but about zero pullups; am I imbalanced?
Thank you for your high quality post. I appreciate the effort and find it very useful to my understanding.
Opposite groups can be determined by looking at the plane of motion.
Horizontal push (i.e. bench) is the opposite of horizontal pull (i.e. row). Vertical push (OHP) is the opposite of Vertical pull (pullups).
No, a pull up is much harder than a push up. Don't worry. The reason is mainly because you lift your whole weight in a pull up, whereas during a push up you still have your legs on the ground, which gives you a lever. You only move about 50% of your body weight in a push up effectively.
If you want to have a more 1:1 pull equivalent to a push up, go underneath a table and pull yourself up holding yourself on one of the edges.
Don't worry too much about imbalances though. If you don't have any pain or posture problems and look fine in the mirror, you are alright.
Go see a chiro or Physical Therapist and have them check your alignment. Make sure instead of just adjusting you they actually verbally tell you what they see/feel and ask why something like that would happen. Congrats, now you know what to put more effort in to stretching or strengthening.
>Don't worry. The reason is mainly because you lift your whole weight in a pull up, whereas during a push up you still have your legs on the ground, which gives you a lever.
>If you want to have a more 1:1 pull equivalent to a push up, go underneath a table and pull yourself up holding yourself on one of the edges.
Actually excellent idea!
>If you don't have any pain or posture problems and look fine in the mirror, you are alright.
All right. Thanks!
Muscles can only contract and can't actively relax so every agonist muscle must have its antagonist counterpart to contract/pull in the onther direction.
I gues you could for example have tight quads
and hip flexors and weak hamstring and abs which would cause an anterior pelvic tilt.
You can avoid imbalances and posture problems by stretching the stronger mucscle and strengthing/training the weaker ones
You sound weak in general, so I wouldn't be worried about imbalance yet. An example of when muscle imbalance becomes a problem is when someone is bench pressing all the time and never doing rows or other pulling exercises.
When a muscle group is worked often it will get stronger and also tighter. In this example that means that the pecs get bigger, stronger and tighter which pulls on the shoulder joint from the front. Ideally, the rear delts, rhomboids, and other muscles would counteract this by supplying the same force on the shoulder from the opposite direction. However, if they are undertrained then the humerus will roll forward in the shoulder joint. This can lead to impingement and pain, while the weaker pulling muscles remain in an overstretched position.
In your case, it sounds like you are untrained. What you should worry about is not overtraining pushing exercises. Train both pushups and pullups, and if you are lifting weights pick a program with both bench press and rows for example.
There is a google app called Biodigital Human, which does not show muscles functioning but it has every part of the human anatomy which you can look at individually. It's very neat and you can use it with Chrome.
The thing is, your body is by nature not as good in both directions, simply because your body is designed to do things. Your upper body should be pretty balanced pull/push-wise, so it's a good idea to work with pairs of movements, such as OHP/Pull-up, Bench/Facepulls, Bicep curl/Tricep extension etc. It's not always possible to find a 100% equivalent, but just roughly.
Squats have no opposite, mainly because it's a non-sensical movement for a human. Legs are not as versatile as you upper body. They are 90% for running, standing and jumping. Those are mainly push movements. The opposite direction is just something that basically never happens (imagine strapping your feet to a pull up bar and then pulling yourself up with your legs. That's the opposite. I don't even know whether it's possible)
There is no real push/pull equivalent for your lower body.
Also, if you focus alot on push movements your pecs and front delts will become stronger than your upper back muscles which causes your shoulders to be rounded. Can confirm see pic related
>I can do a few real pushups but about zero pullups; am I imbalanced?
no, a pullup is simly harder to do.
Really if you are just doing a normal routine that involves some push and pull exercises you have nothing to worry about.
For a while I was boxing a lot and doing no other sports, and ended up getting pain in my shoulder from doing pushups all day erry day.
>If so, is there an opposite to squats?
good question. No-ish.
The thing is, both extending and pulling your arm takes energy, but to lower the body all you have to do is let go a bit and gravity does the work. Which is why quads are the biggest muscle you have.
The closest you can get as an opposite to squats is possibly the deadlift, which is a pull exercise and works the back of your legs a big more (but also quads of course).
Really any simple routine like bench, row/pull-up, squat, dead should never lead to muscular imbalance. Just avoid spending half your time at the curl machine and you'll be fine.
>Muscles can only contract and can't actively relax
I know what you mean but on a molecular level the opposite is true. When you contract a muscle it "lets go" those proteins that hook into eachother, and it takes energy to get them apart again (which causes rigor mortis). This way you can contract muscles faster.
>stop obsessing over which arm or leg is bigger,
I was more concerned with imbalances between groups, not left/right.
/fit/ criticised my program saying it would lead to imbalances, since I am easily influenced, I have felt imbalanced for days (in reality, I just lifted super heavy recently and still feel the pain).
>For a while I was boxing a lot and doing no other sports, and ended up getting pain in my shoulder from doing pushups all day erry day.
I do rows, and it's where I can lift the heaviest (about 8 reps at over 12 kilos per dumbbell), so there's that.
Yes. Both your biceps and triceps attach to your shoulder joint, so if they are tight they can contribute to an impingement. Also, stretched muscles are longer and more relaxed, which means a stronger contraction and more beneficial lifting.
Im sorry op, theres no solution. You are going to die, i am so sorry.