What a blog post title. Altered reciprocal inhibition. It’s actually a pretty cool concept. I’ll explain in a minute!
Mid-morning, I headed to the gym for a workout. I started with a 3.5-mile run on the treadmill. I used the Option 1 workout to guide my run.
After my run, I went to a Body Pump class. During class, I made sure to squeeze my glutes after each and every squat and lunge since I recently discovered that this area is pretty weak on me. (Yes, I have a weak butt.) As I was doing this, I thought: altered reciprocal inhibition, and I wanted to tell you guys about it since a lot of you seem to like the SCIENCE on CNC.
From my NASM textbook:
Altered reciprocal inhibition is the concept of muscle inhibition caused by a tight agonist, which decreases neural drive of its functional antagonist.
I swear, it’s not that complicated. Let me first explain agonists and antagonists.
Agonist muscles are muscles that act as prime movers, or, in other words, they are muscles most responsible for a particular movement. For example, the gluteus maximus (your butt) is an agonist for hip extension. Antagonist muscles perform the opposite action of the agonist. For example, the psoas (a deep hip flexor) is antagonistic to the glutes during hip extension.
Does that make sense? Ok, good. Onto the altered reciprocal inhibition part.
Here’s an example: if you sit at a desk for 40 hours a week, you probably have a tight psoas (hip flexors). The constant contraction of your hip flexors muscles (agonist) can reciprocally inhibit the glutes (antagonist). This means the glutes tend not to “fire” (aka contract) as they should. This results in muscle imbalances (i.e. a weak butt) and potential injuries. To help with this imbalance, I want to increase flexibility in my hip flexors and strengthen the glutes.
Interesting, right? All of my imbalances and running injuries are starting to make a lot of sense!
This morning’s workout made me really hungry, so as soon as I got home from the gym, I whipped up a quick lunch. It was only 11:00, but, hey, when you’re hungry, you’re hungry.
On the menu: salad with walnuts and balsamic vinegar.
And a turkey sandwich with melted cheddar and honey mustard on a whole wheat Bagel Thin.
After lunch, I enjoyed a cup of coconut-flavored coffee with coconut milk and a piece of dark chocolate. It was a sweet ending to lunch.
The rest of my afternoon includes an interview, studying for the NASM exam, taking Murphy to the dog park, and picking up Mal from the airport. Mal has been away all weekend, so I can’t wait to see him!