The body has more than 650 muscles. From the smallest, the stapedius muscle (1) in the inner ear, to the largest, gluteus maximus. (2) This does not include muscles that do not attach to bones. Examples of non-skeletal muscles would include the muscles in the gastro-intestinal tract, blood vessels or urinary system.
Some factors to consider for maximizing your muscular health are:
Do your muscles have the appropriate balance of strength compared to the same muscle on the opposite side of the body when paired?
For joints that have more than one muscle involved, what is the relative balance of strength?
Is the length of all the muscles involved in any specific joint appropriate? For example, The strength of all the muscles controlling the shoulder joint may all be appropriate, but due to excessive stretching in certain directions, the resting ‘neutral’ position of the shoulder may not be correct.
Timing – when doing various activities, multiple muscles may need to fire with specific strengths in very tightly controlled sequences. If the timing or strength of firing is off, the joints will not be controlled properly resulting in inefficiencies, damage or injuries.
More factors to consider include: speed of firing, ranges of motion, independence of action, neurological control and endurance.
With musculo-skeletal conditions being the second most common reason for office visits to doctors, there is plenty of room for each of us to improve our muscle awareness and the factors that could be involved for biomechanical health. Let’s all commit to learning a bit more about our bodies every day.
How many of your muscles can you name?
How many of these do you know any performance measure for (strength, length, speed, etc.)?
You get certified in Balanced Muscle Strength testing (BMS) through the DxF. Now what?
There are lots of possibilities depending on what you are already involved in. Let’s take a look.
For those of you who are already in the health field: personal trainer, yoga instructor, physician, allied health professional or coach.
Whether you have your own office, studio, team or work out of somebody’s gym, you can add muscle strength testing to your business right away. This will give you the tools you need to get superior results and set you apart from the competition.
For those of you new to the health field: Here are some options:
· Affiliate with health professionals – With each muscle strength & balance testing course and certification you complete, you will learn more muscle tests and related anatomy. The more muscle strength tests you learn, your options for obtaining work with sports doctors, chiropractors, physical therapist and personal trainers on a part time or full time basis increases.
· Work with the DxF – whether you volunteer for our public screening program, or work your way up to become one of our paid tutors, examiners or instructors, we are always looking for people to help bring muscle strength testing to the world.
· Set up your own testing service – Depending on your state laws, you may be able to establish your own muscle strength & balance testing service. Once you complete all 8 units of the BMS testing series, you will have learned 100 different muscle tests, related anatomy, physiology and research to use in your own business.
What happens during nine months of pregnancy with a baby growing inside of a mother’s abdomen? One of the results (besides a new member of the Royal Family) is that stomach muscles get stretched and the low back arch forward becomes increased. These alterations to the mother’s body can remain long after pregnancy unless measures are taken to correct the imbalanced muscles. In fact, the lower back arch for healthy adult women is on average, almost twice as large as men. (1) Pregnancy is one of the factors contributing to this major difference in the shape of women compared to men.
What does it all mean? When the lumbar arch forward becomes too great, it has less strength and stability. An excessive curve in the low back (lumbar region), requires less bio-mechanical stress to cause damage and pain. New mothers will be subjected to plenty of bio-mechanical stress as they carry their growing baby around every day.
A lumbar injury could happen during pregnancy, show up right after delivery or perhaps even years later. As long as the muscle imbalance remains, the lumbar region will remain susceptible to injury. These kinds of joint aches are quite common. Joint problems, particularly in the low back represent the number 2 reason for doctor visits.
Of course there are a lot of factors that contribute to increasing the lumbar curve forward. High heels can contribute to increasing the lumbar forward arch, so can straight leg sit ups. The sum of all the activities, exercises, stretches, injuries and surgeries that you have ever experienced, all contribute to your shape, contours and muscle balance. The key to preventing joint imbalance injuries, is to check your bio-mechanics on a regular basis. Is your lumbar arch forward too big? Too small?
Get your muscle strength tested. Find out if the muscles that pull your lumbar region backward are weaker than those which pull it forward. Get your posture analyzed, measure your flexibility. Listen to your body and learn how it works. For example, you can learn the basics of muscle strength testing in as little as 4-6 weeks. Don’t wait until you can’t get out of bed with joint pain. Take these easy and inexpensive steps now to truly prevent illness. Continue the joy of pregnancy with a long, active, healthy life, sharing your children’s accomplishments as they continue to grow.
Get certified as a Balanced Muscle Strength Screener – Legs in 4-6 weeks! Time varies based on background in anatomy and biology.
Manual muscle strength testing has been around at least since 1915 with over 6 textbooks on the topic currently in publication. Let’s first define exactly what we are talking about when we describe manual muscle strength testing for this article.
Muscle testing falls broadly into 2 major categories. One category uses testing to measure strength based upon the functional capacity of the muscle and the directly affiliated nerves. The other category utilizes muscle testing as a method of gaining insights into remote areas of the body or even other people. This article is addressing the first category of measuring direct muscle strength.
Muscle testing may be done using equipment, manual methods or a hybrid of the two. State of the art testing where documentation is required for insurance or legal cases typically involves sophisticated equipment (i.e. Cybex, Biodex). While muscle strength testing with this type of equipment can be extremely accurate, it tends to be limited in the number of different muscles that can be measured and takes extensive amounts of time and money to perform.
Manual muscle testing for strength utilizes the examiner’s senses to evaluate how much strength the subject is capable of producing with each test. Accuracy suffers to some degree because of this and results are recorded in a semi-quantative manner (i.e. 0-100%) rather than in pounds of force. On the plus side, manual testing offers a much broader range of muscles that can be measured and can be done in a much quicker time frame and lower cost.
Hybrid systems utilize devices that the examiner holds in their hand to measure the peak force that subjects can exert with their muscles. These hybrid systems are somewhere in between the sophisticated systems and purely manual methods regarding the number of different muscles that can be tested and the accuracy of the results, time and cost.
Cuthbert & Goodheart did a peer reviewed, nationally indexed study of over 100 research articles done on purely manual muscle testing methods. There findings concluded that there was “good reliability and validity in the use of MMT [manual muscle testing] for patients with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. The observational cohort studies demonstrated good external and internal validity, and the 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were reviewed show that MMT findings were not dependent upon examiner bias.” (1)
More recently (2010), Fan and others, did a study on inter-rater reliability of manual muscle strength testing for intensive care patients. They found “MMT has excellent inter-rater reliability in trained examiners and is a reliable method of comprehensively assessing muscle strength.” (2)
In 2000, Gregson found that using the Medical Research Council scale for manual muscle strength testing provided reliable results for all muscle groups tested. (3)
Women who didn’t workout reported more often they didn’t have enough time! That means they don’t place enough value on staying fit. How can women see the value in a workout routine? A couple big factors are: 1) they need to know that exercising is going to help and 2) that the exercises won’t cause problems.
The largest preventable risk factor for the development of arthritis is muscle imbalances. The best way to correct these11 imbalances is through exercises. When you consider that the #2 reason for all doctor visits is arthritis and how many people get joint replacements for chronic arthritis, starting an exercise program begins to sound like it could be well worth the time.
It is not enough to just do exercises. They need to be the correct exercises. This is why it is important get tested for individual muscle strength first before beginning an exercise program. Muscle imbalances can be acquired by many different reasons including: traumas; accumulation of imbalanced every day activities; imbalanced exercise programs; crooked seats; saggy beds and more. Over time, if not addressed and corrected, pain, injury, drug therapies, surgery, and osteoarthritis diseases can develop.
Lower back pain is the #1 reason men miss a workout. It is estimated that 80% of men will experience lower back pain at one point or another in their life. Treating low back pain without understanding the underlying cause of it, can result in the wrong treatment plan and ultimately may produce more back pain. The Diagnosis Foundation asks: What is the cause of your back pain? One quick way to begin to understand what is causing the back pain, is to be screened for individual muscle imbalances. For instance, the psoas muscle can play a role in back pain because it attaches to the lower spine. If the muscle becomes too strong in relation to the muscles opposing it, it can pull the lower spine forward. Only a slight distortion is needed before discomfort sets in. If left undiagnosed, chronic back issues can develop.
How often do you hear or read: “Eat Healthy and Exercise”? If this advice was heeded then, why are so many people still unhealthy? According the the World Health Organization, the US doesn’t even rank in the top 25 health systems (1) despite having the most healthcare expenditures per person. What are the factors that impact this statistic?
One of the motivating factors to build the Diagnosis Foundation (DxF) was the eat healthy and exercise advice and what could people do to better understand exactly what each individual needs in terms of what diet/supplements are needed and what exercise(s) to do. The DxF believes that the public is beyond the “eat healthy and exercise advice.” We, as a whole, are so much more knowledgeable with the internet at our fingertips. That empowers people! We like that a lot!
However, It is that “fingertip knowledge” that can be precisely overwhelming! The supplement industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world! Forbes states that last year alone the vitamin, mineral, and supplement industry earned about $32 billion in revenue (2). That means more and more people are driven to understand how they can be healthy while using information/research to support their physical well being with supplements. That is the great part! But still, how do you know what you need to take and how do you know what exercises to do?
The DxF has been addressing these questions. We promote understanding why before a treatment plan is in place.
No healthcare reform needed here! We are creating new avenues for people to empower themselves! Our first empowering program is our Balanced Muscle Strength (BMS) screenings. Unsure of what exercises to do? Our BMS screenings are the first to take a “snapshot” look at possible underlying cause(s) or muscle imbalances that can fester and possibly lead to disease or surgery years down the road. Each BMS participant is empowered to make choices about treatment. We’ve seen it! We love the engagement of all participants! Knowledge is power and these screenings provide participants with useful health information (data sheet) that they take with them. We’ve seen trainers alter routines on the spot to account for collected data! If participants choose to do further investigation and evaluation of the underlying cause, they are referred to their own health care provider or our new DxProvider database of professionals. We now offer BMS screenings for free!
More empowering DxF programs we have developed for the NOW empowerment:
A certification course in Balanced Muscle Strength – Legs . The public response to our screenings motivated us to offer new career options. So many people loved our work and wanted to be able to help others be fit and healthy we launched our certification course this spring! It is open to everyone. We even have options for those who are already in the bodywork field. It is offered at an introductory price!
As for long term goals, the DxF has outlined facilities development to expand and meet the public need for empowerment. In addition, we are also developing a career path for a Doctor of Holistic Diagnosis (DHDx) that would only diagnosis for underlying causes before treatment options were considered by the patient.
We believe this care would improve the our standings among other health systems and reduce the cost expenditures person.
If you would like any more information about how you can be empowered or if you have any comments, please email me directly: PWallman@DxFoundation.org
What is the largest muscle group in the body and one of the top calorie burners?
The glutes are the biggest muscle group. The bigger the muscle the more calories it burns. Plus, strengthening the glutes helps with posture. Glutes that are too weak can result in lower back issues as the pelvis will tilt forward causing stress on the spine. How do you know if your glutes are strong?
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that people who train in groups can boost their pain tolerance more than those who work out alone. The scientists aren’t sure why, but they think group exercise may contribute to an underlying endorphin surge. No training partners? Pop in a pair of earphones. Music can also make strenuous exercise seem easier.