Muscle Imbalances in the Research

Muscle Imbalances in the Research

I don’t know why I like doing these research reviews so much.

I always end up learning something or it confirms what I am doing.

I try to break them down for you so they are easier to understand and you can get the take home message from them.

For those that want a lot more detail, I have included the reference so you can read the original article.

Lets get to the research.

Do Elite Athletes Have Muscle Imbalances?

What They Looked At:

They looked to see if elite athletes performing team or individual sports had muscle imbalances.  They looked to see if they did with MIR investigation.

What Did They Find?

They found a variety of muscle imbalances in the trunk and pelvic region.  They feel muscle imbalances may be related to injuries athletes get.  They suggested that each sport needs to be looked at to determine what muscle imbalances are common and what specific muscle rehabilitation can and needs to be done.

So What?

It shows that athletes do have muscle imbalances.  It is tough to say if these imbalances are needed in order to excel in their sport or are leading to injury or decreased performance.

It is cool that the concept of muscle imbalances is being discussed more and more.  Even in research papers.

I wish I had more to say but I was not able to get the full journal article as it was still being processed.  I look forward to getting it soon enough.

It was interesting that they identified muscle imbalances using MRI, I have never heard of this before.

Where to get more information:  Franettovich M, Hides J, Mendis MD, Littleworth H. Muscle imbalance among elite athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;45(4):348-9.

Is a Single Leg Squat a Good Indicator of How Your Hip Functions?

What They Looked At:

The researchers wanted to see if a single-leg squat was a good tool to determine poor hip muscle function because lately the focus of addressing knee pain has been by focusing on the hip.  They felt that people that performed better on a single leg squat would have earlier onset of gluteus medius activity, greater lateral trunk strength, greater hip abduction strength and greater external rotation strength.

They had 5 people evaluate 34 participants when performing a single leg squat.  They measured the muscle activity of the participants when it came to their hip strength based on electromyographic activity.

What Did They Find?

They determined that a single-leg squat is a good tool to determine if someone has poor hip muscle function.

So What?

I have been using the single-leg squat for an assessment for a long time and use it in the Core Stability of the Hip program.

It just highlights that getting your client to do a single-leg squat is important and will give you a good idea of what you need to focus on in your exercise program.  If you or your client perform poorly on a single-leg squat, you will need to work on gluteus medius, lateral trunk, hip abduction and external rotation strength.

Where to get more information:  Crossley KM, Zhang WJ, Schache AG, Bryant A, Cowan SM. Performance on the single-leg squat task indicates hip abductor muscle function. Am J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;39(4):866-73. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

What is a Good Test for the Core?

What They Looked At:

They looked at a dynamic core test of a chop and lift test and compared it to a static endurance posture tests of the Biering-Sorensen and side-plank.

Cool Points that Were Brought Up:

– “Trunk musculature absorbs, produces and transports multidirectional forces to and from the upper and lower extremities by maintaining a balance of stability and mobility.”

– “Researchers have hypothesized that defects in muscular capability (power, strength, endurance) and motor control (amplitude, timing) lead to poor trunk stabilization and can alter performance or increase injury susceptibility.”

What Did They Find?

The chop and lift is a good power test to test dynamic trunk control.

So What?

I have seen the chop and lift around for a while.  I have not used it very much but I will now.  I will use the two endurance tests to measure directional endurance for the core but will add the chop and lift in order to look at more dynamic core function.

Always great to take the time to read these research articles.

Where to get more information:  Palmer TG, Uhl TL. (2011). Interday reliability of peak muscular power outputs on an isotonic dynamometer and assessment of active trunk control using the chop and lift tests. J Athl Train. 2011 Mar-Apr;46(2):150-9.

That is it for today.

Time to put the papers away and head to work.

Have a great day!

Rick Kaselj, MS