Training your Opposing Muscle Groups – Injury Prevention Basics

by The Fitness Enthusiast on August 11, 2012

It is a common sight at any gym to see people doing the same routine day in and day out consisting of only chest and biceps.  The stereotypical beach muscle workout that rarely yields any results and if results are attained the individual usually looks unproportional and goofy.  Aside from making yourself look like a top heavy fool by only working a couple of different muscle groups people that train this way are also making themselves far more susceptible to injury.  For example, sticking with the most common beach muscle lifter, if you only train your pectorals and neglect the opposing muscle group that consists of rear delts, rhomboids, and the trap muscles you could very well develop injuries with at least one of the two opposing muscle groups.  In this case an individual would be putting a lot of stress on the shoulder joint and shoulder girdle.  Balance and proportion not only looks the best, but it also helps keep you healthy.

Here is a complete opposing muscle groups list and the joint they belong to:

Calves-Anterior Tibialis at the ankle joint

Quadriceps-Hamstrings at the knee joint

Hamstrings and Glutes-Hip Flexors at the hip joint

Erector Spinae and Abdominals at the pelvic joint

Pectorals and Anterior Deltoids- Posterior Deltoids, Rhomboids, Traps at the shoulder joint

Deltoids-Latissimus Dorsi also at the shoulder joint

Biceps-Triceps at the elbow joint

Signs your neglecting opposing muscle groups

Here are some signs that your are neglecting opposing muscle groups.  The most common is joint pain.  You can spend all the money in the world on fish oil, glucosamine, and other joint supplements.  But, if the joint problems stem from muscle neglect and over training of a specific muscle group supplementation won’t do a thing.  So if you are experiencing joint pain consider how you train.  If you come to the realization that you ignore or don’t pay enough attention to a certain muscle group then you may be able to solve your joint pain problem.

Another indicator that you are not properly training all opposing muscle groups is posture.  If in a natural stance your shoulders roll forward you are probably putting too much emphasis on pectorals and rear delts and not enough on the opposing back muscles.  If in a natural stance you slouch you might be focusing a lot on your abdominals and not enough on your erector spinae.  If you feel like you have bad posture it is probably due to opposing muscle group connect.  Start doing extra back extensions and rows.  It will help.

A third indicator is muscle cramping.  Often times people who experience unexpected cramps in muscles like the hamstrings or triceps have this happen because the opposing muscle is overpowering and is putting stress and the neglected muscle.  For example if you are prone to hamstring cramps it could be because your quads are much larger and stronger.  This makes the hamstrings unstable and forces them to work a lot harder to perform simple tasks like standing and walking.  When under that much extra pressure, whether you can feel it or not, you will be prone to cramps.

Train your opposing muscle groups and prevent injury

There are many different kinds of training out there.  But whether you are doing bodybuilding, power lifting, cross-fit, or some kind of specified athletic training that involves weight lifting it is important to be conscious of what you’re doing and making sure you are training all of the above muscle groups for both purposes of achieving optimal results andpreventing injury.  If you do chest one day make sure you thoroughly train your back at some point that week.  If you are training your legs make sure you pay specific attention to both that quads and hamstrings.  If you want to be able to shoulder press heavy dumbbells then make sure you are supporting those shoulders by training your lats.  If you are dead set on doing bicep curls regularly then I hope you devote time to your triceps or you could wind up tearing that biceps muscle right off the bone.

Injury prevention is key to building gradual, long lasting results.  It takes a lot of work to achieve your goals and there are dozens of factors that play a role in getting you to where you want to be.  However, if you’re hurt you either won’t achieve your goals or it will take much longer to get there.  Thoroughly training all and opposing muscle groups is a significant aspect of injury prevention.  Stay tuned for further tips on how to keep yourself in the gym pain and hassle free.

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