Walking on That Tightrope

We've all heard the saying, "Balance in all things!" True enough, but living and playing invariably upsets the proverbial apple cart. Unless you take special care to stay aligned, muscle imbalances occur when repetitive activities are done consistently without regard to the opposite musculature. Huh?

For example, swimmers are prone to anterior (front) shoulder (deltoid) problems because their pectorals (chest muscles) and posterior (rear) deltoids are far more developed than their counterparts. In other words, the front is stronger than the back, and that screws everything up. By strengthening the weaker muscles in the upper back and rear shoulder, a swimmer's muscular balance is restored and the chance of injury minimized.

Pectorals (commonly referred to as "pecs") are the chest muscles responsible for the pushup motion. Deltoids (often called "delts") are the muscles that cover your shoulder and are responsible for lifting your arm.

The same is true for runners, kayakers, cyclists, and any other athlete who calls on one particular set or sets of muscles—the other muscles of the body may need some help. The key, of course, is knowing which muscles to work and how to work them. Read on, and we'll show you how.

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