Almost everyone has muscle imbalances, addressing them can improve your athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury and help with rehabilitation. A few simple observations and movement tests tell us which muscles are tight or overactive and need stretching and which are extended or underactive and need stretching (these are included in your fitness assessment). Below are a few of the more common observations and indicated stretches and strengthening recommendations to give you an example.

Observation/IssueShortened Muscles to
Extended Muscles to
Feet turn out, shin
splints, pain on bottom of foot (plantar fascitis), Achilles tendinitis*
Calves, Quadriceps, IT Band/TFLAnterior Tibialis
(shin), Gluteals, Medial Hamstrings
Shoulders round, soreness in mid/upper back, forward headChest, front of
Shoulder, Lats, Neck, Upper Traps
Middle and Lower Traps
and Rhomboids
Excessive forward lean
at hip
Hip flexors and QuadricepsGluteals, Hamstrings, Abdominal Core
Knees Move InwardAdductors, IT Band, PiriformisGluteals, especially Gluteus Medius (Abductor).
*Achilles tendinitis and plantar fascitis are medical conditions, consult a doctor for diagnosis and possible treatment.

Once you understand which muscles are shortened and which are extended, be sure to personalize your program accordingly, here are some examples:

Likely Injury: Rotator Cuff, Impingement, Biceps Tendinitis
Add to program: Chest stretch, reverse fly, scaption, close grip row, external rotation/rotator cuff strengthening
Avoid: Overhead shoulder exercise, incline chest press, front row, behind neck exercises

Likely Injury: ACL/MCL Tear, possibly knee or hip pain, frequent ankle sprains
Add to program: Side Lying Leg Lift, Single Leg Press/Squat, Hip stretch, IT Band Stretch
Avoid: ADductor, ABductor machine (also works piriformis)

Likely Injury: Plantar Fascitis, Achilles Tendinitis, calf cramps, frequent ankle sprains
Add to program: Foam Roll and stretch calves, toe raises, side lying leg lift, single leg press/squat
Avoid: Calf raises

Likely Injury: Low Back Pain, Disk injuries
Add to program: Planks, lower body and back stretching, unstable exercises
Avoid: Excessive hip flexion and abdominal flexion (sitting, leg raises, crunches)

Likely Injury: Slips and Falls, Hip Fracture
Add to program: Single leg exercises, core strengthening
Avoid: Extended periods of sitting

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