Ever felt that your muscles or joints are “stuck” and they cannot elongate as much as you want? Or, do you feel that certain muscles just will not fire no matter what muscle-specific exercises you have worked on?
Our posture, lifestyle, stress level, gait and choices of exercises play a part in the development of our muscles.
For example, prolonged hours of sitting can cause inability to fire gluteal muscles through a process of “reciprocal inhibition“. When you sit for too long, the hip flexors get tighter resulting in the lengthening of your opposite side of the joint, which is your gluteal muscles. This lengthening effect causes the gluteal muscles to “sleep” or desensitised, and will not activate when you try to engage them.
Sometimes, due to injuries, trauma, the rigours of sports training, or psychological stress, our brain loses the ability to fully control our muscles and movement, both in contraction and relaxation phase. And pain happens: impinged joints, arthritis, poor posture.
The good news is that we can re-train our brain, nervous system and senses to contract and relax the muscles voluntarily.
While going for massages can help to relax the tight muscles, the benefits are short-lived unless you are able to relax them voluntarily.
Below is a journey of a student who had problems firing her lower abs regardless of exercises or disciplines. We came to realise it was her sports trauma that was holding her back from using the muscles. Now that we have identify the issues, she is able to acknowledge the trauma, and regain the ability to train her lower abs and pelvic muscles.