by Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS and Steve Hefferon, CMT
Welcome to article number 4 in our series “Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts”. In this article we are going to talk about how bodybuilders tend to create massive muscle imbalances and what you can do to not be one of them.
If you missed the first article, you can read it by clicking on the link below.
Here's a breakdown of the articles to look for:
Article #4 - Targeted Exercises
What is a Targeted Exercise and Why You Need To Be Doing Them?
While performing three different exercises for each area of the chest may sound “targeted” and it may work great for targeting the chest itself... this is NOT what we mean by targeted...
What we are talking about is choosing exercises with more than just size increases in mind... remember, there is far more to muscle than just how it looks... You can be really big, but also weak, slow and inflexible.
To drive this point home some more, remember the “Turtle Back Syndrome” we covered in article #1? So many body builders are plagued with this gruesome condition and they don't even know it! Are you?
The Turtle Back condition is a direct result of too much focus on building up the pecs and lats and not enough focus on the upper back. Also, the lack of focus on flexibility in the chest and shoulders makes it even worse...
Not only does this look stupid, but it sets you up for back, neck and shoulder problems like rotator cuff tears and the like... and I know you don't want any of those!
So by targeted, we mean exercises that will not just develop muscle strength and size, but more importantly work towards correcting muscle imbalances which will mean less pain and missed workouts, better performance and function, and most of all better and balanced total body development!
So How Do You Find Out Which Ones You NEED To be Doing?
As we discussed in the previous article on “Targeted Stretching”, it's very important to know before hand what stretches you actually NEED to be doing... the same applies to exercises...and the ONLY way to find out what specific areas you need to target is to perform physical evaluations so you can pin point the weak muscles that need strengthening and the tight muscles that need stretching.
We have developed a series of simple assessments you can do yourself to identify the muscles imbalances you have...and while they are intended for people suffering from back pain or sciatica, as a bodybuilder you stand to benefit greatly because you train so hard, you are far more likely to experience injuries like bulging and herniated discs, rotator cuff tears, knee pain, etc...
Plus, even if you don't have any pain or injuries now, it would be very wise to learn how to assess yourself so you can target your training now before you create an injury, which not only will slow down your training and progress, but it can also become a life-long struggle with pain and a serious loss of your strength, size and fitness.
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