Weight and Resistance Training - Fixing Imbalances




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yoyomadness
06-07-2008, 09:51 PM
I posted a week or so ago about an assessment I received from a PT, who told me that I'm a lot weaker on one side of my lower body than the other -- when he said that, a light went on in my head. That explained a knee problem and other problems I have had. He recommended that I work on these weaknesses in order to get a good foundation for weight lifting.

I thought I'd update you all.

My goals are to lose weight and build muscle.

The PT gave me a bunch of lower body-weight exercises to work on for three weeks. They are bridges, sliding bridges (slide one foot out and back), lying adductions (sounds so much cooler than 'leg lifts'), and wall squats while holding a light weight (8 lbs). He also recommended leg extensions on a machine.

I am duck-toed, and he gave me specific foot placements during all these exercises to rectify that. I think that's great -- being duck-toed has always bothered me and I had no idea that I could control it. I'm still not convinced! But I'm following his program and will see. He talked a lot about body awareness, which I found interesting. He also explained some basics about muscle recruitment and the CNS.

He said he wasn't sure what to give me for upper body because I don't have any issues there. He ended up giving me lat pull-downs, low cable rows, chest presses, flies, shoulder stabilizers (standing Y's), bicep curls, and tricep pull-downs. Quite a lot, really!

He also gave me specific stretches for UP and LB.

In addition, he told me to do cardio every day -- he gave me two types to choose from: Treadmill at a fast walk, increasing incline 1% every 5 minutes to 6% and then back down, or elliptical at mid-resistance doing 60-65 speed for 15 min.

He also told me to increase my calories to 1400, eat a lot more protein, and eat 6 small meals a day. I was eating low-calorie before (1100-1200/day), so 1400 feels like a lot of food, especially with so much protein. I'm still getting used to eating so often, and devoting so many of my calories to protein. I was doing about 33/33/33 before. Now I'm closer to 50% protein.

I just got NROWL, so I'm reading it while I work the PT's program. A lot of what the book says is different from what the PT recommended, at least in terms of calories and cardio, but I figure I'll do the PT's program for the 3 weeks he recommended and then I'll try NROWL. I really want to get off the machines and do big compound moves because I'm convinced that is the way to go for maximum benefit.

Has anyone else dealt with significant imbalances? Three weeks doesn't seem like a long enough time to correct them, but I really have no idea about muscle development and such... I'm a fugitive from the toning and cardio camp.

Thanks!


Depalma
06-07-2008, 11:28 PM
I don't think he intends to totally correct your imbalances in 3 weeks, but more like, do this corrective exercise phase for 3 weeks then you reassess.
I must say that this was a bit different than what I expected with the upper body isolation exercises and the leg extensions, but he had a first hand assessment, so I'm sure he has reasons behind them (although if he really said he wasn't sure what to give you for upper body, that raises a red flag in my mind.)

When I first went to a trainer, I had some significant imbalances. Typical computer guy from working behind a screen all day. Tight hip flexors and the accompanying weak glutes, rounded and raised shoulders and the accompanying poor thoracic mobility. The weak glutes also led to some occassional knee twinges as well as some hip pain. Also, ankle mobility could have been better.

My initial program called for lots of self-myofascial release with the foam roller and lacrosse ball especially targeting the peroneals and glutes with the ball (a lot of trigger points! Ouch!). Also did some thoracic extensions on the foam roller.

Following the SMR was a dynamic warmup with special attention paid to the imbalances with stuff like walking lunges, spiderman lunges, knee hugs, butt kicks, hip bridges, bird dogs, quadrupend thoracic spine extension and rotations, wall ankle mobilizations, scapular wall slides and more (about 8-10 drills, different ones each workout).

The main workouts consisted of major compound movements, such as squats, deadlifts, pullups, presses, etc. Squats were done to a low box to really engage the posterior chain. Also because of the tight hip flexors, when I first started, I could not deadlift from the floor with perfect technique, so my trainer progressed me from rack pulls, to a trap bar deadlift with the trap bar raised by 2" rubber mat, to the unraised trap bar, to the straight bar. Pullthroughs were also a favorite exercise early on to bring up the glutes as well as lots of single leg work. Also, between sets of all exercises, active rest with lots of corrective work such as kneeling hip flexor stretches, wall slides, chin tucks, side-lying rotations, planks etc programmed in.

I noticed improvement almost immediately, especially in loosening up the hip flexors. Definitely not fixed in three weeks, but definitely a great deal of progress made in that time frame.

MarblesLongGone
06-07-2008, 11:42 PM
As for straightening your walk, I had a physical therapist through my ear doctor have me alter my gait. After a few years, I did slip. I do KNOW though, that if you set up a mirror at the end of the hallway, and take DELIBERATE steps to walk "properly", your body WILL learn how to do it. It feels really uncomfortable at first, as you are holding everything differently than you are used to. (My issue is that I am, what the therapist dubbed a "Tight-rope walker", I walk with one foot directly in front of the other, and the pros SAY that my feet should be spread more than shoulder's width apart! YIPES! I have BIG shoulders.)


yoyomadness
06-07-2008, 11:59 PM
When he said he didn't know what to do with the UB, I told him that I want to be able to do a pull-up and to easily put my heavy kayak on top of my car.

But reading your description of your starting condition made me think that he was trying to fix some of the same problems you had - I also sit in front of a computer and have raised rounded shoulders (as well as the other issues that you mentioned). One thing he said at our next meeting was that he was giving me mostly shoulder and back exercises and only one chest exercise because that would help my shoulders pull back and down. When he put me on the machines, he kept reminding me to put down my shoulders and he also put his fingers on my shoulders a few times to see how they were moving.

Those self-myofascial releases look really interesting.

WaterRat
06-08-2008, 01:18 AM
I spent 5 months in physical therapy for my knees last year. He had me doing a lot of exercises for my hip flexors which he said would help pull my kneecaps back where they belonged. It really did help, as did the orthotics for my shoes which help stabilize my knees. Of course, I wasn't crazy about the manipulation to break up the scar tissue that was holding my right kneecap in an off to the side position. OUCH. I still try to do the exercises several times a week. My knees really do feel better, though I'll be heading down the replacement pathway in the next few years. They're just getting worn out....