Without proper training techniques and paying close attention to muscle groups, athletes can find themselves with muscle imbalances. Muscle training imbalances occur when a muscle or group of muscles is trained and made considerably stronger than the opposing muscle or muscle group. Muscle imbalances can greatly impact the performance of athletes especially when they are training and competing in incredibly strenuous events like triathlons. Improving these muscular imbalances prior to training is essential for optimizing an athlete’s performance during competition.
The first most important step to combating muscle training imbalances is to realize when it is taking place. Athletes should consider taking various strength tests to ensure their muscles are all performing equally and to highlight any imbalances that might already be present. Tai T., a CoachUp triathlon trainer, stresses the importance of training other parts of the body to avoid muscle training imbalances. By taking time to train other parts of the body, other than just by swimming, running, and biking practice, Tai builds up his athletes’ muscular and cardio-respiratory endurance which improves their performances overall. He states that athletes “must prepare their body to support the incredible amount of stress that they will be asking it to endure during their competition,” and the best way to prepare is by eliminating muscular imbalances with help of a triathlon trainer.
Furthermore, muscle imbalances put athletes on the fast track to injury. While one muscle or muscle group continues to grow stronger, it places the muscle or muscle group not growing in a position of getting easily hurt. Athletes who do not realize they have an imbalance will assume all their muscles are performing at the same rate and will place confidence in muscles they assume are strong but in reality are not. In addition to the threat of injury of imbalanced muscles, athletes can also experience overuse injuries to the muscles that are overcompensating for the weaker muscles. Athletes, especially in triathlon training, along with their triathlon trainers need to make sure all muscles are equally trained and strengthened.
Like a symphony with all instruments playing in perfect harmony, an athlete’s body will perform correspondingly at its best without muscle training imbalances. This can give athletes a competitive advantage over their opponents because they can draw on strength from muscles others may not have focused on or developed. While muscle imbalances can be a barrier for some athletes, those who diversify their training will be able to exceed beyond their own limits, as well as their competitors’, reaping the benefits of a newly found core body strength and flexibility.
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