When is a muscle REALLY weak? #Physiorant

It’s been a while – sorry – big plans with seminars and mentoring so I apologise…but I had to wrote about something today because I am fed up with this problem. If i had hair, it would be pulled out by now!!

Just because a clinical/muscle test shows something is “weak” doesn’t mean that it really is weak…

e.g. a glute can test weak on hip extension isometric muscle testing in different positions…fine. but if I ask the patient to think about something different or a different cue, and THEN the muscle tests normally or performs better, is it REALLY weak?

Far too often I hear my patients tell me they have a weak this or a tight that…it might FEEL weak, it might LOOK underactive, it might PERFORM weakly, but it might actually be because you have poor coordination!

This is not an easy concept for some health professionals, fitness professionals and the public to understand…I know that…so I will say it again S L O W L Y

Just because a test result is poor DOES NOT MEAN your muscles are weak.

For example, I had a guy who can squat 150+kg tell me he has weak glutes. Wha!!?? he had a rounded bum. He had obvious tone in the muscles. He can squat and deadlift. He can do weighted lunges and step ups…but someone told him he has weak glutes. So he showed me how his one leg bridge was “weak”…I then showed him how to set his hip a bit differently (less than 1mm I suspect) and suddenly he is busting out reps with ease and no more hip flexor pain (which is what he came to see me for).

So, did his poorly performing glutes suddenly improve their neuromuscular capability? Did they suddenly grow more muscle fibres and got stronger? Did I magically release something that was preventing them from working properly?

No!!!

All I did was help him place the hip differently in the socket and let the brain sort the rest out.

If he was truly WEAK, then no matter what I do, he would test positive for weakness…and I do a LOT of things to exclude other causes for a poorly performed test – pain, nerve irritation or compression, referred pain, poor coordination etc.

The truly hard part of my job is breaking into YOUR BRAIN. I have to quickly figure out how you think and work (your conscious self) AND how your brain (your unconscious self) thinks and works and get both to do what I want to improve your performance…but that is where the fun is!!

So next time someone does a test on you and tells you that you have a weak Glute or some other muscle, DO NOT BELIEVE IT unless many other options have been tried!

#rantover – thank you!

 

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About Antony Lo
Antony Lo is an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist based in Sydney. His website is www.MyPhysios.com.au. He specializes in the management, treatment and prevention of pain and dysfunction, particularly of the pelvis and ribcage. His sub-specialties include Crossfit and Exercise Performance Optimization, Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Care and difficult cases that have failed treatment elsewhere.

One Response to When is a muscle REALLY weak? #Physiorant

  1. Pingback: When is a muscle REALLY weak? #Physiorant | athleticevolution

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