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Is there a way to know if I am overusing certain muscles while skating?

Many athletes such as skaters favor one side of their body. There tends to be a favorite jumping leg, favorite landing leg, or a more flexible leg. Assessment of the muscle tissue is likely to reveal these favorites which not only overuse one side of the body, but can lead to further imbalances and even injury. Self-myofascial release, or foam rolling, is a way to find tender areas which are linked to overused or tight muscles. Using a foam roller and searching for areas of tenderness can reveal overworked or imbalanced muscle groups. At the same time, using a foam roller can massage and release the overused or knotted muscles, helping to create more balance within the body. An overhead squat assessment can also be used to reveal favored muscles or muscle imbalances. This is a way of looking at dynamic flexibility and total-body strength. To perform the overhead squat assessment, stand with the feet hip-width apart, feet and knees pointing straight ahead, and arms overhead. Gradually sit down into a squat position. Notice if the toes turn outward or the knees cave inward. These compensations may be from tight adductor or calf muscles. These findings can also indicate weak gluteals. To stretch tight calves, stand facing a wall, hands on the wall at shoulder level, with one foot backstrided behind the hip. Both feet and knees should face forward. Keeping the abdominals tight and back glute engaged, slowly bend your elbows while keeping the back heel down on the floor. A stretch should be felt at the back leg calf. Be sure that the back leg glute and quadriceps remain tight and the foot remains facing forward. This stretch should be held 20-30 seconds. To stretch the adductors, stand with a wider than shoulder-width staggered stance with the back foot in line with the front foot arch. Toes and knees should face forward. With the abdomen in and tall posture, perform a side lunge movement toward the front leg. A stretch should be felt in the inner thigh of the back leg. This stretch should be held for 20-30 seconds. To strengthen the gluteals, a floor bridge can performed for 15 slow repetitions. Lay on the floor face up with the feet underneath the knees and the toes pointing straight ahead. Engage the abdominals and lift the glutes and hips off the floor without the knees moving in or out and without over-extension of the lumbar spine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.