Earlier today, a customer complained of an aching elbow at his triceps. Scanning the selection, he confidently chose a powdered blend of herbs, spices, and proteins for anti-inflammatory joint rujivination and remarked, “Even though I feel this way, I’m going to continue to push on.” I approve of his supplement choice, which I see as a check deposited into his personal bank of health. Yet, I often consider that it is but one piece in the puzzle.
Anyone who has ever lifted a weight has probably felt what is known as “Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness” which occurs for up to several days after a physically demanding session. That is normal and expected anytime you try a new exercise or routine, and the soreness disapears after you increase exercise frequency. Some people actually enjoy they muscle soreness because they feel like it is a constant reminder of making new progress.
However, for THIS gentleman today, his pain increased ALONG WITH exercise frequency. Watch out! Now this is a real sign of entering “Overuse Injury” territory. Pain in the triceps muscles is usually due to overuse and should subside by laying off the muscle for a few weeks in addition to gentle stretching exercises.
But does that really solve the problem!?
AND, FOR HOW LONG?
In fact, a chronic pain in the upper arm may often be linked to either forearm weakness or shoulder girdle strength imbalances. These links must be addressed in order to promote optimal musculoskeletal performance. You wouldn’t drive a car with a flat tire would you?
I’ve found that most people’s muscle imbalances can be seen even with a t-shirt on. The main signs are excessive curvature at the spine, or assymetrical shoulders.
KEYS to Back and Shoulder Protection/ aka THE POSTURE SOLUTION
1. Improve shoulder stability at the shoulder blades by activitating and empowering connection between shoulder blade and ribcage (the serratus anterior muscle). We do a push up variation called the Scapula Push Up for two sets of 15 reps.
2. Correct imbalance between excessively weak upper back and overpowering chest muscles by strengthening the romboids, rear deltoids, and lower trapezius. Bands, dumbells, and cables are utilized to strengthen, while we stretch pectorals several times daily.
3. Encourage behavior that motivates standing and sitting with an upright posture worthy of a balanced person. Remember, chest up, and shoulder blades back and down. Oh, and tilt your head to the side if you see a friendly person that you like.
Come on, you can do it! It’s all about awareness. Being aware of your body and how it prefers to move.
As a personal trainer, I would focus on muscle activiation with ligh bands and upper back strengthening with weights.
On the other hand, many have improved their lives with other traditional methods such as tai chi, yoga, and body work. But those are topics of other blogs 😉
I’m off to do some of my own balancing.
(Technique videos coming soon!!)