The relationship between the muscle's strength and length around a joint is known as muscle balance. When examining an athlete, we need to assess static and dynamic muscle balance (Kemp & Boynes 2000).
Muscles can be divided into two types: mobilisers and stabilisers.
Mobilisers are found close to the body's surface and tend to cross two joints and are typically made up of fast-twitch fibres that produce power but lack endurance. They assist rapid or ballistic movement and produce high force. With time they tend to shorten and tighten.
Stabilisers are situated deeper, invariably only cross one joint, and are made up of slow-twitch fibres for endurance and postural control. With time they tend to weaken and lengthen.
Both groups of muscles work in a complementary fashion to stabilise and move. Over time, the mobilisers can inhibit the stabilisers' action and begin to move and attempt to stabilise on their own. This inhibition of the stabilisers and preferential recruitment of the mobilisers is central to the development of "imbalance" and is what we want to prevent.
Balance and Strength
Assessment of an athlete's muscle balance and strength should be conducted regularly.
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