Think back on your day today. Did you have pain somewhere in your body? Now think about your day to day life. Are there some normal things that you have trouble doing? If you are like most people, then the answers to both questions are probably: “Yes”.
The reason is that you are imbalanced. 🙂 Now before you challenge me to a fight, I don’t mean mentally imbalanced, but instead physically imbalanced. This means some muscles are weaker and some parts of your body are out of whack. This then causes pain and gives people a lot of trouble in their day to day lives.
The reason you have these imbalances is because of things like leading a sedentary lifestyle, being hunched over the computer all the time, or playing sports that heavily recruit certain muscles over others, for example like baseball.
The good news is that you can fix most of these imbalances or at least improve them. When you spend your entire day sitting, your chest muscles become tight, your back muscles and your hamstrings become weak and the different stabilizer muscles that you have in your body don’t fire up properly. This often leads to a bad posture, things like kyphosis, lordosis and the forward head syndrome. Sometimes this is coupled with things like scoliosis and the problem becomes even worse when you are hypermobile and have loose joints. Some of these problems are due to genetics, but oftentimes they are due to a bad lifestyle.
Many of us have also played a lot of sports before and this also has had a negative effect. Sports is generally good for you, however without proper training, sports can lead to injuries and muscle imbalances. For example a pitcher in baseball heavily uses one of his arms, his pitching arm, which can cause long-term problems in his rotator cuffs and shoulders and also cause different types of muscle imbalances, for example with one arm becoming a lot stronger than the other. This then leads to a lot of pain later on and various other problems.
The good news is that most of these things can be fixed or at least improved. This can be done through various types of asymmetric training, stretching, but above all a change to your lifestyle.
With asymmetric training you focus on the areas that cause you problems. So instead of having a balanced training routine, you should have a routine skewed towards strengthening the parts of your body that are weaker. For example your sedentary lifestyle weakens your back muscles, glutes and hamstrings. So your training routine should focus on strengthening those and stretching your pec muscles, as those are usually tight.
To fix the above problem that arises from our sedentary lives, your routine should have double the amount of pull exercises than push. A lot of guys like to focus on their “show” muscles like the pecs and so their routines are heavily skewed towards working their pecs. Most exercises to work the pecs are push exercises, such as the bench press. This makes your problems even worse and just adds to your imbalances.
So instead of doing 4 sets of bench press, 3 sets of decline bench press, and then dumbbell flyes, you should for example just do one type of bench press, but instead include more pull exercises that work the muscles opposite to your pecs. Pull exercises are things like dumbbell rows or cable rows. So in order to fix your imbalances, your routine should have for example 2 pull exercises for every push exercise.
Also you should do a lot of stretching. For example the wall stretch is a good stretch to loosen up your pecs. Another common problem are tight hip flexors. There are several stretches which can help you in that area and loosen up those tight hip flexors. Another great thing to do is foam rolling. This is really great for hitting some really tight and painful areas.
When coming up with your routine, try to focus on fixing these imbalances. Your ultimate goal might be to gain weight, but you need to put a priority on fixing this first, because not only will it help you with achieving that goal, it will also help you in other areas of your life. You will feel less pain and will be able to do things that you thought you no longer can. It will also lessen your chance of injury and help you enjoy life to the fullest.