Tip of the week: Lift for structural balance
Your body is an adaptive machine. But there is one thing that will always inhibit its ability to adapt: its desire for homeostasis.
“Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH. It can be either an open or closed system…. Multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustment and regulation mechanisms make homeostasis possible.”
This concept of your body maintaining balance has typically been applied to things relating more to the chemical environment of the body, but it is also evident from a mechanical stance. This is evident in both injury risk as well as strength gains. For example, an athlete that has hamstring strength of 60% or less compared to quad strength, has a very high risk of an acl tear. Another example is that an athlete that can bench press 300 pounds, should be able externally rotate 30 pounds 10 times. If the athlete cannot, then the bench press will plateau soon, if it hasn’t already. These relationships are seen throughout the body.
For this reason it is very important that you training all parts of the body equally. The average person tends to train only the muscle that he or she can see in the mirror and neglects the posterior chain of the body (and the legs if they only use a waist up bathroom mirror). This causes plateaus, poor posture and increases the risk for injury. I have seen athletes come from this style of training, and then spend a few months fixing imbalances (mostly working the posterior side of the body and arms and not doing any bench) and then test at a higher bench press despite having not done it in 6-8 weeks.
Mix it up, and make sure that no muscle groups are neglected, and you will get stronger, decrease injury risk and improve athleticism.