Muscle imbalances occur when one set of muscles, for example, the pectorals, are of unequal strength or size compared to an opposing group of muscles, for example, the lats. These differences in muscle function can derail your hard work in the gym and create serious injuries. When one muscle is weak and the other is overactive, it pulls your body into bad posture—like rounded shoulders or an excessively arched lower back—which also limits mobility at your joints and makes certain muscles stiff.
Typically, muscle imbalances occur around areas of your body that are supposed to be mobile—hips, shoulders, thoracic spine—but they can happen almost anywhere. What does it look like when you have a muscle imbalance and how do you know if you have them? Read on for the four most common muscle imbalances, a quick test to see where you’re at, and exactly how to fix them.