Have you ever noticed that maybe one side of your body is stronger than the other? For example, maybe you have great balance when standing on your left leg, but when you try to balance on your right, you’re a wobbly mess! Well this is called a muscle imbalance, and most people have them!
If you really sat down to think about it, you might be shocked at how much of your day is spent in a suboptimal body position. For example, sitting at a desk for 8 hours can tighten up your hips. Or hunching over patients all day as a nurse can lead to shoulder stiffness and lower back pain. It’s all of these things that we do, without even thinking, that can really take a toll on the body.
So how do we identify and correct these issues? One of the easiest first steps you can take is to work with an experienced fitness professional and have them run you through a functional movement screen. A functional movement screen is a series of simple movements that can help a professional identify any asymmetries and imbalances in mobility and stability.
Here at Cornerstone, we offer all of our members a complimentary functional movement screen as part of the wellness coaching process. Wellness coaching is one-on-one consultation that helps you set goals and stay on track. We highly recommend a functional movement screen – the information can be very helpful in designing a good fitness plan. Here are a few examples of the movements that we test and what you can expect:
Single Leg Stance
The single leg stance is a wonderful test of core strength and balance. The test requires you to stand on one leg for 10 seconds, and both sides of the body are tested. While this test is especially important to assess fall risk in the senior population, it is also beneficial to people of all ages. An imbalance in the single leg stance test can cause an imbalance in your gait, which can cause a chain reaction of problems. Think about it, every time we take a flight of stairs, we are in the single leg stance position and I’m sure you take several flights of stairs each day!
Shoulder Pass Thru
The shoulder pass thru test is a great way to assess shoulder and chest mobility. The testing protocol will have you holding a PVC pipe at about waist height with your arms straight and grip wide. You will then be asked to raise the pole as far as you can over your head without bending your arms. This assessment is a simple way to evaluate the effects of poor posture, which often happens as a result of sitting too much.
The basic squat or sit-to-stand test evaluates several different factors, but most importantly core stability and lower body tightness. During this test you will be asked to perform a squat to a comfortable depth. This test can also be performed with a chair for those who are nervous about falling over. Squatting is an extremely important movement because it mimics getting up out of a chair, which we do multiple times a day. Therefore the importance of the test is that you are performing the movement efficiently.
Overall, proper and efficient movement patterns help to reduce your risk of injury and increase your overall mobility and quality of life. The earlier these muscle imbalances are detected, the easier they are to correct, so schedule your wellness coaching appointment and functional movement screening today!