Why is stretching and strengthening the appropriate muscles important!? Why are these actions helpful?
The answer is because of muscle imbalances. In order for our body to function with human movement efficiently, we require a balance of muscle length and muscle strength around a joint. If these muscles are not balanced, then the associated joint is directly affected. Which in many cases is the cause of pain, such as lower back pain or knee pain.
For example, a muscle imbalance at the knee involving a “tight” biceps femoris will cause the knee to move inward(knee valgus) during an exercise such as a squat. This is due to the instability around this joint caused by muscle imbalances. Consequently, Knee Valgus can lead to a variety of knee issues if not addressed. When dealing with movement compensations such as Knee Valgus, there are always going to be multiple muscles involved. Thus the importance of using stretch and strengthening exercises simultaneously.
However, the most important aspect is to be sure you are targeting the appropriate muscles. For example, the biceps femoris is likely the “tight” and “overactive” muscle when it comes to knee valgus, but the VMO(vastus medialis oblique) is “lengthened” or “underactive.” In this scenario, we would work on lengthening the overactive biceps femoris by using flexibility exercises while shortening the underactive VMO with strength exercises.
Knowing which muscles to stretch and which ones to strengthen can be quite confusing, this is why it is very important to get with a certified professional to get on a corrective exercise program to avoid future injuries.
With that being said, I hope this post helps you to understand the importance of utilizing both stretch and strength exercises. We hope to see you in our Stretch/Strength classes on Tuesday evenings! For more info on classes visit: theasdanceacademy.com under the adult class tab! As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our future blog post!