I’ve seen many practitioners instill fear into athletes, whether purposefully or not, by using the dreaded word, imbalance.
I feel like it's the "solution" they use to try and convince athletes of needing help... "you're imbalanced, broken and need my help to fix you!"
News flash... we are ALL imbalanced. And just because you play golf, doesn't make you more or less imbalanced than anybody else.
I also once listened to a podcast that I laughed out loud when the guest said, “our goal is to create perfect balance, like the anatomy picture you see on the wall in the classroom.”
First, balance is impossible to achieve.
Second, balance is far from ideal.
Balance is not Possible
As golfers, we use one side of our body more than the other during the golf swing.
But, as humans...
We also write with one side of our body.
Flip burgers with only one side of our body.
Kick with one side of our body.
Drink coffee, and 12 oz silver bullets, with one side of our body.
We usually favor one side of our mouth when chewing.
We carry groceries with our dominant arm most days.
All of this is to say, we create imbalances amongst our daily lives… not just our golf swing.
When practitioners use that as THE REASON that somebody gets hurt, I cringe.
Balance is impossible to achieve due to the nature of our lives and the adaptability present in our body.
Furthermore, if we look at the biomechanics and physiology of our human body, certain muscles are meant to be stronger than others.
The quads should be stronger than the hamstrings.
Your calves should be stronger than your tib anterior.
Your lats should be stronger than your pecs.
These strength levels accumulate over time as you use these muscles in different ways to complete tasks, solve problems, and function.
The body adapts.
The body is way smarter than any textbook that exists in the world.
It has adapted over time to the countless occurrences of "imbalanced stress" that you have provided it... I mentioned a handful of examples above.
As a human, you're going to have imbalances, and that’s okay! In fact, it’s beneficial.
Balance is not Ideal
Your body is built to adapt to stress.
This is the strongest injury reduction mechanism we can employ.
If we attempt to ignore this and create "balance," we are removing years and years of imbalanced adaptation that has been created, which has helped us become resilient to injuries and improve performance.
As an example, your right side rotator cuff takes much more beating during the golf swing as it’s a prominent decelerator. Because of this, it has developed adaptations that your left rotator cuff hasn’t.
We can’t remove the context of why these imbalances exist.
They’re present to protect you from injury.
They’re present to help you improve.
We aren’t SEEKING Imbalance
Now, we probably don’t want to go so far as to seek imbalance… but in my opinion, most imbalances exist because of a protective adaptation that created it, meaning it’s beneficial.
We should listen to our body, not ignore it or think we are smarter than it.
Don't train a certain muscle group more than another to create "balance."
Don't improve mobility on one side without working on the other as well.
Don't complete assessments that tell you exactly where your two halves differ.
Get holistically stronger.
Become a better mover.
Explore, expose and expand what your motor system can do.
Leave the adaptations for your body to figure out… It’s proven time and time again that it’s unbelievably good at it.
Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI