by Dave Hollinger
Throughout your athletic career, muscle imbalances unique to your sport will naturally develop from tightness, old injuries and overuse on the field. These imbalances lead to faulty motor patterns, diminished athletic performance, and put you at high risk for injury. Hockey players, for example, often have very tight, shortened hip flexors due to their body position on the ice. Tightness in the hip flexors causes the glutes to shut down increasing the risk for groin and hamstring pulls, two common hockey injuries. Additionally, the glute shutdown significantly reduces the athlete’s lower body power potential and skating speed. This is where structural balance comes in. Structural balance is the development of proper flexibility and strength ratios between primary muscles and the muscles that stabilize and oppose them. Significant benefits of structural balance are:
» Decreased injury rates
» Improved performance on the field and in the gym
» Ability to pursue advanced training techniques
Phase II: Structural of the Chicago Sports Institute Off-Season program addresses these imbalances and pulls the body into proper alignment allowing you to move efficiently and reducing stress on ligaments, tendons and joints. Structural balance not only minimizes your risk of injury, but is an essential component of your training regimen as you will see significant gains in the primary muscles directly related to your sport.
To give you an idea of the benefits that are possible, I recently worked with javelin thrower who had developed imbalances between the Internal Rotators and External Rotators of the shoulder and had been experiencing significant shoulder pain for years. After her structural phase, she not only added 4.57 meters to her javelin throw but her chronic shoulder pain was resolved in just 4 weeks.
Whether you’re a javelin thrower or baseball player, or play contact sports such as football or hockey, structural balance is the first step toward optimizing your on-field performance and maintaining health all season long.