Tendinitis, bursitis, rotator cuff injuries, upper back pains, neck pains, lower
back pains, are just a few conditions that can be due to a person’s exercise
routine, even though they were not experiencing pain at the time they were

The exercises most people do are very common in a gym.
However, we often find on examination that the pains these
people are coming in with are due to an imbalance in their
muscles that was caused by their exercise program. How
does this happen? Here is one example…

Chest vs Back exercises: People at gyms generally do a lot of push
ups and bench presses and “flies” that work the chest muscles to
improve the look and strength of the “pects”. The pectoralis muscles
are the big chest muscles. However they tend to be strong because we
use them all the time in day to day activities.

If the pectoralis muscles become over-developed, they pull
the shoulders forward into a round shoulder posture. This
causes a misalignment of the rotator cuff muscles of the
shoulders leading to tendonitis and eventually bursitis and
can even lead to the need for shoulder surgery in extreme cases.

Over-developed pectoralis muscles also cause the head to come forward to
improve breathing which then leads to neck pains and upper back pains because
the weight of the head is not balanced properly.

Over-developed pectoralis muscles also cause upper back pain because they pull
against and weaken under-developed upper and mid back muscles.

How Do You Avoid Over-Developed Pectoralis Muscles?

To avoid muscle imbalances you must work out the upper back muscles

between the shoulder blades twice as much as the pectoralis muscles. At the
gym, seated rows where you stabilize your upper body and pull the weights back
with your arms, squeezing your shoulder blades together is one way to work your
upper back.

Wall angel exercises are also very good for balancing
your back and chest muscles. If you cannot do even one
wall angel properly your pectoralis muscles are too tight.
You need to strengthen the muscles between the shoulder
blades (the rhomboids) before you work on the pectoralis
group any more.

Pectoralis stretches also help. Resting your arms on each side
of a door frame, then stepping through is one pectoralis stretch.
There are other “low-tech” ways to strengthen the upper back
muscles while stretching the pectoralis muscles that we can
show you at our office.

The chest and back imbalance is one of the most common muscle imbalances we
see. But of course there are others. If you are exercising to lose weight or to stay
in shape, then finding out which of your muscle groups are weak and which
are overly tight will help you individualize your workout routine to what your
body needs. This way you will not be inadvertently causing yourself damage while
trying to get healthy or stay healthy.

It is also always a good idea when starting a new exercise program to get your
spine checked. Getting regular chiropractic adjustments keeps your joints
moving properly so you are less likely to hurt yourself during an exercise class
or session. Remember, muscles move joints. If a joint is stuck, it does not always
hurt. However, when a muscle tries to move a stuck joint, it can pull, strain or
spasm on you, and then the muscle will hurt.

Avoiding pain, staying healthy, keeping balanced… sounds like a good idea.
Why suffer? Call us today to get your spine checked. Ask Dr. Steve or Dr.
Ellen to check your muscle balance while you are at it. We can help you
individualize your exercise program for a healthier you!