Weight and Resistance Training - What's so wrong with a tight muscle?

09-28-2005, 12:17 PM
So one of the trainer guys at my gym was giving me a body evaluation, and he had me do this squat exercise and then he proceeded to tell me that the muscles in my legs are tight (amoung other muscles). He had me roll my leg over a tube and boy did it hurt! He said that it hurt because my muscle is tight. So I asked him,

"Okay, so I have some tight muscles...So? What does a tight muscle mean? I thought muscle were supposed to be tight?"

He didn't give me a full explination, he just told me having tight muscles were a bad thing.

Okay? Can anyone please tell me what does it mean to have a tight muscle? Any does it hinder a workout in any way? Is a tight muscle the same as a sore muscle (I don't hurt, so I'm confused.)?

09-28-2005, 01:56 PM
The only thing I can think of is that he was commenting on a lack of flexibility. Yoga and pilates are 2 types of programs that claim to "lengthen" muscles or increase flexibility. Some people are naturally flexible and some aren't. The more flexible you are the less likely you are to pull muscles especially when doing some new type of exercise. Personally it has always been reaalllly hard to increase my flexibility - even as a 12 year old gymnast it was one of my biggest issues. It can be improved but for some people (like me) it is definitely not easy.

09-29-2005, 11:10 AM
Thanks, JuliaTN. :)

09-29-2005, 12:16 PM
I was thinking lack of flexibility too.... Yoga and pilates are very good also stretch after a workout...

10-03-2005, 08:45 PM
I have knee problems (patella femoral syndrome), and my physical therapist told me my outer thigh/iliotibial band was too tight--causing that muscle to pull my kneecap to the outside. She gave me specific exercises to loosen it up (and massage--painful massage!--of that area). That's the only bad thing I've ever been told about "tight muscles", but he could have meant something else.

10-04-2005, 08:37 AM
There are lots of bad things about "tight" muscles, and you should be concerned about them. The most important thing is that muscles work together with bones and joints to give us mobility. If your muscles are especially tight they wil affect your posture and gait and cause joint pain and "muscle imbalance". Also, each muscle has an opposite that releases when it's partner contracts. For example, you quads are opposite muscles to your hamstrings. Runners traditionally have tight hamstrings. In addition to stretching the hams, most experts recommend you also make sure to work the quads through additional exercises. For example, run one day and bike the next or mix sqats and lunges to your leg days. Your IT Band is causing knee problems and may very well be the underlying cause of your issue. The foam rollers are a great place to start identifying where you are tight and can help to release the tightness. Be sure to do them slow and relax into the pain. I promise it will get better. Also do the stretches she recommends to warm muscles on a regular basis. So, pay attention to yur trainer and ask the tough questions. If you do not get a satisfactory answer, keep asking or find a new trainer. This doesn't mean she doesn't know what she is doing, but that you may have different communication styles, which is just as important in finding the right trainer for you. good luck.

10-04-2005, 10:31 PM
There's little I can add to the previous (excellent) posts except for this: the older you get, the tighter you get. And the tighter you get, the more painful it becomes to move. And the more painful it gets to move, the less you move. Trust me, this is not a good thing. I wish I had discovered yoga or pilates or stretching 30 years ago. As it is, I pay a lot of attention to it now.