Fitness Trends Influence Exercise TechniqueIn the ’90s plyometrics dominated, and more recently, core strength training has become popular. Rotational core strength, involving rocker boards, pilates reformers, and other apparatus has become tools of the trade for strength coaches around the world. Problems exist with sport specific training. For skiing, the quads are a key muscle group. To train these with exercises such as leg presses whilst neglecting the hamstrings may put the athlete at risk of injury. Imbalances such as this can be referred to as structural imbalances.
Examples of Structural Imbalances
- A Weak Vastus Medialis (the teardrop-shaped quadriceps muscle that crosses the knee) can adversely affect sprinting and jumping performance. Squatting without going deep enough can cause this problem.
- Weak Hamstrings. Proper development is essential for jumping and sprinting activities. Athletes often have weak hamstrings from using the wrong rep schemes. The biceps femoris of the hamstrings are mainly fast-twitch fibers which respond better to high-intensity exercise.
- Weak Scapulae Retractors. Scapulae retraction, involving pulling the shoulder blades back, is performed by the rhomboids and trapezius, exercises that are commonly poorly developed as they can’t bee seen by lifters form the front.
- Weak External Rotators. The teres minor and the infraspinatus are responsible for rotating the shoulder. These muscles start on the scapula and insert on the humerus, and make up half of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff. These small, but important muscles stabilise the shoulder and keep the athlete healthy. Bodybuilders often avoid training these muscles due to the fact that they can be trained with very light weights. Strengthening these weak muscles can translate to significant strength increases in some of your lifts.
Why Fix Strength Imbalances
Swallow your pride and train your small muscles that have a may be holding you back from the strength gains you are seeking. As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link.