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If You Only Train Your Chest Muscle, You’ll End Up Looking Worse

If You Only Train Your Chest Muscle, You’ll End Up Looking Worse

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn

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Fitness is key to our overall health. We all know it, and for those of us who take it seriously, we know how to train our bodies to keep in the best physical shape. Or do we? To truly understand fitness, we must first understand the body. Scientific research and anatomy is paramount to this understanding – we must know we are dealing with on the inside, in order to truly benefit on the outside. And just as an athlete or trainer knows, looking good on the outside means feeling just as good on the inside.

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Understanding The Body

Your back is the number one place in the body that overcompensates for all the other areas that are not in proper use. For instance if we are not training our core muscles properly, our back muscles will begin to overwork, thus resulting in pain, or strained muscles. This need not be the case. However there are negatives for any area that we overwork, or over train. When we talk about fitness, and bodybuilding, we are talking about making each part of the body work at its strongest, building the muscles so that they work together and the body works at its full capacity. If we over train any area, we will land in some rather hot water.

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Back-versus-the-chest-surface-area-covered

    Back To Front

    It is actually better to overwork your back than your chest. Although the chest seems to be the more difficult part of the body to get into peak condition (we often see a good set of guns, but are less likely to see highly developed pectorals) it is very important to approach a chest workout properly. If you only work on your chest, the muscles do not necessarily grow and grow the way you think they might. In fact when you only develop the chest muscles, they grow tighter and tighter, and this begins to affect your overall posture in a way that likely does not match the desired result you were hoping for.

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    Excessive development of the chest (and underdevelopment of the back) can lead to a curving of the spine and a condition called ‘Kyphosis’, otherwise known as hunchback. With time the bones can compress, age and crack under the pressure, which is not only very painful, but the complete opposite of what was initially being aimed for. The overall area of the back contains much more muscle than the chest. The two must work with each other in order to develop the chest; unfortunately the back will look fine without the chest being as developed, but the same does not occur vice versa. Working only the chest muscles is non-functional, painful and dangerous. But working the chest and the back muscles, will develop the chest in the way you probably envision. Good posture never fails to look good!

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    Don’t bench press too often. It can cause you to lose muscle mass and strength rather than gain it if you do it too often. Know that an overall build will always look better, AND you will have less pain in other areas if all your muscle groups are working together as a team. Good back muscles will actually make your chest look bigger. When you pull those back muscles back and shoulders back, that chest you’ve been working will look even bigger. For this reason, it is important that your back is tighter and more muscled than the rest of your body. It’s very difficult for your back to look “too big” or disproportionate by working it too hard. It is, however, easy to overdo the chest muscles if you are not looking after the rest of your body properly.

    Featured photo credit: aboutlifting.com via aboutlifting.com

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    Last Updated on July 2, 2020

    Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

    Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

    There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

    Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

    What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

    How can you get relief from neck pain?

    There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

    How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

    Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

    Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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    • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
    • How old are your mattress and pillow?
    • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
    • How do you manage stress?
    • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

    Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

    Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

    Remedies for Neck Pain

    Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

    1. Everyday Activities

    One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

    Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

    If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

    2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

    The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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    A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

    3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

    It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

    Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

    4. Stress and Stress Management

    Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

    5. Accident or Injury

    If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

    6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

    Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

    An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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    • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
    • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
    • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
    • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

     

    Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

    When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

    1. Gua Sha

    This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

    Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

    2. Swimming

    You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

    3. Chiropractic Massage

    Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

    The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

    When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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    I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

    What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

    Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

    A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

    • Cervical Manual Traction
    • Flexion-Distraction
    • Cervical Mobilization
    • Ultrasound
    • Cervical Drop Technique
    • Trigger Point Therapy

    There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

    The Bottom Line

    If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

    Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

    More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

    Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

    Reference

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