Yup, the Colombian bombshell was right – the hips don’t lie!
Argh! My It-Band/knee issues have migrated back to my hips again. Last week I did have some success with my running. It was far from fast, but I was able to actually get my mileage in. Last Wednesday I had my long run – 90 minutes. I wasn’t sure if my knee would hold up for the entire time and when I mentioned it to my chiropractor she suggested to split my run in half. Run 45 minutes in the morning and the remaining 45 minutes in the evening. Brilliant! I had considered running what I could outside on the pavement and then “running” the rest in the pool. The thought of splitting my run in half never even occurred to me. It makes complete sense though because you get your mileage in for the day but with a lot less fatigue and damage to the body. This is obviously very important for me at the moment due to my injury.
Yesterday at the chiropractor I asked my chiropractor what is causing all my hip issues. I had a good feeling what the root cause was but I wanted her to confirm my suspicions. The perpetrator – muscle imbalances. Just as I had predicted. Unfortunately I had the imbalances for a long time. As a Freshmen in high school I had major patellofermoral pain syndrome cause by, you guessed it – muscle imbalances. My entire swim season was ruined because of my knee problems. Months of bi-weekly physical therapy “fixed” my problems and my hips were good for a long time. However, over the past couple of years focusing on long-course triathlons, my body, more specifically my hips, have taken a massive beating by the same repetitive motions leading to the overuse injuries that I have been battling with – plantar fasciitis, IT-Band issues, and piriformis syndrome.
Over the past year I have spent a lot of time learning about the human body and movement. Working in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and coach requires me to understand the fundamental elements of human movement. Through my own research and education I have begun to understand what my own body is doing during movement and where my body is compensating because of my muscle imbalances. To be completely honest, I have known about my issues for a while now, but haven’t really focused a ton of time fixing the issue. That small crack in my foundation has now caused a major rift in my foundation causing my whole house to shift. Yikes!
So what are muscle imbalances? I plan to have a post dedicated more to this topic later this week, but I’ll give you a little tease right now. Muscle imbalance occurs when muscles lack normal muscle activity – a combination of contraction and relaxation. Triathletes tend to become overdeveloped in larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and shoulders and weak in the smaller stability muscles in the lower back, core, adductors, and abductors. Imbalances may lead to injuries, biomechanical inefficiencies, and wasted efforts.
So yeah… muscle imbalance are not fun. Just about every athlete, especially triathletes, have some degree of muscle imbalance. All my clients have some sort of muscle imbalances too because of their lifestyles, ie. home or work environment. Luckily, muscle imbalance can be corrected relatively easy through corrective and strength exercises at the gym amd/or home. We’ll discuss this later.
My little word of advice – “pre-hab” is way better than rehab so don’t forget to do your core and hip strengthening work folks! 🙂
~ Happy Training!