In bodybuilding, being balanced is everything. The legs cannot over power the upper body, and the front cannot over power the back. True champions focus not only on their strengths, but their weaknesses. For those not planning to compete in bodybuilding however, balance is equally important.
For the majority of people that train, being pleasing to the eye is something we all want, but functionality is usually the primary goal. We all want to feel better, and being stronger helps us get through our days easier. One mistake so many make however, is failing to train ALL areas of the body. I used to train in gyms with guys I called kites! Kites are usually young men that focus on the “beach muscles” like arms and chest but forget the rest. They end up with huge upper bodies walking on pretzels! Sure they look good in jeans but with shorts, well…they look like kites! Little legs simply dangling at the end.
What often comes along with this is also the failure to train the back. I think it comes back to the old saying out of sight out of mind. In the mirror we simply forget that there is more to us! While this looks bad, it also creates mechanical problems with the body. Muscles are supposed to have an opposing set of muscles that counter each other. When one area is over developed, the body can end up suffering and start to damage itself.
Perhaps where this is most apparent is with men that bench heavy but do not train their backs enough. This is an easy thing to spot as they often walk with their shoulders pulled forward as the muscles in the back cannot counter the strength of the muscles in the chest. Over time, this can cause serious shoulder problems as they are pulled out of alignment.
This also occurs with the knee joint when the quads are worked more than the hamstrings. When this occurs, they knee can be compromised. In fact, it can occur throughout the body if we are not careful.
Looking great is awesome. It makes us feel wonderful and can give us a new found confidence in many other areas of our life. Still, balance is necessary to actually feel better and to function as our bodies were intended. When designing your workouts, take care to focus on balance BETWEEN the muscles. The result will be a machine built for the long haul!