Effective exercise isn’t just about maintaining good form and challenging your muscles to work harder. In order to get the most out of your workouts, meanwhile avoiding injury, you need to maintain balance. To evaluate your body’s balance, give yourself a Functional Movement Assessment.
Optimally, you should visit a sports medicine clinic or physical therapy studio for a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) by a certified specialist. But there are some things you can do yourself to determine the more evident areas to improve your body’s balance, and learn if your mobility is limiting your fitness – particularly in the key area of your ankles.
Imbalance happens when one muscle is stronger than its opposing muscles, and over time, this develops into serious musculoskeletal issues with symptoms that include limited range of motion, injury and pain.
“About 65 percent of injuries — both athletic and lifestyle-related — come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances,” says Mark Verstegen, strength coach and president and founder of EXOS and Core Performance.
The Functional Movement Assessment (or Screen) includes seven tests, which are graded on a scale of 0-3, where movement was painful at 0, up to perfect at 3. Again, you should visit a certified specialist who offers FMSs, however, you can give yourself one to get an idea for where you’re at.
The seven tests of the FMA include these primary five: Deep Squat, the In-Line Lunge, Rotational Stability (core strength test), Hurdle Step Over, and Push-Up (to measure trunk stability). Click here to learn how they are done and what you should be looking for.
Once you’ve completed a FMA with a therapist, they will help you plan a focused training program to help you fix your body’s imbalances and correct the improper movement you have developed. Overall, you need to start re-training your mindset when you exercise to focus more on movement quality and less on the weight or intensity of your workouts. Correct movement is more important to your fitness than more movement.
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