WTF: Overactive Muscles

What the hell is an Overactive Muscle and why should you care?

The Scientific-y Definition

The National Academy of Sports Medicine defines an Overactive Muscle as, “Referring to a state of having disrupted neuromuscular recruitment patterns that lead a muscle to be more active during a joint action.”

Here’s a video of the dorky, but totally helpful tidbits from NASM. This one is for people whose feet turn out, which is also considered pronation distortion syndrome.

In Layman’s Terms

In other words, an overactive muscle is a muscle that’s working harder than their opposite (or antagonist) muscle.

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How do you get one:

It happens to everyone. This comes about from stress, overuse or doing the same movements over and over again (hello cyclists), shitty posture, and injury. Your body always tries to find a way to work regardless of the disfunctions going on, which means, it’ll start using other muscles to compensate for a stressed one that’s not doing its job.

Whatever muscle that’s “the chosen one,” ends up getting used a lot more than it should, leading it to become overactive. It ends up working harder than the other muscles surrounding a joint and then boom, you have compensations. You’re leaning every which way and then this causes more muscle imbalances, which leads to pain and shitty performance IRL.

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How do you find them

By grabbing someone who knows what they’re doing (a professional – ahem) to conduct a posture and overhead squat assessment. Us kids have the acumen – or the trained eye – to spot when your body is out of whack.

Basically, you have 5 body checkpoints you want to make sure are aligned: Feet, Knees, Lumbar-pelvic-hip Complex, Shoulders, and Head. It’s like that song we used to sing as kids. I don’t think I ever watched a creep video like this though:

Well, how do I fix it?

Once we determine what muscles are overactive (and underactive) then we can create a plan that focuses on re-balancing your body.

We lengthen (stretch and foam roll) the overactive muscles and engage (workout) the underactive muscles.

Because everything is better in harmony.

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Ready to fix your funky body? Get at me. 

 

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