When muscles are “turned off” it doesn’t mean they don’t fire or that they’re completely inactive. It often means they’re doing the wrong job. They become inhibited and weak. Why?? Because of posture, function, training, lifestyle habits, etc. As Sue Falsone puts it every muscle has its role. Prime movers need to be prime movers, synergists need to assist, and stabilizers are there to stabilize. When their roles change problems occur. Synergists which are supposed to assist prime movers in motion become the main player and take over the primary role. This leads to inhibited prime movers that aren’t doing the job they were meant for. This creates increased stresses, dysfunction, and compensation throughout the body. Synergists often become overused and fatigued and injuries occur. Too often we look at injured areas as the problems when more often than not we need to look above or below the injury for the real culprit.
The glutes are a golden example for every human being reading this. How many times are injured athletes told their glutes don’t fire. The real problem isn’t that the glutes no longer function, it’s that they aren’t doing their job properly. The prime movers for hip extension are the glutes, the synergists assisting that motion are the hamstrings, and the stabilizers are the lumbar extensors. If the glutes no longer perform their primary role correctly something else has to take over. Namely the synergists, and/or stabilizers have to step up to the plate and take on where the glutes have left off. The body will always find a way to perform a task right or wrong. It will always find a way to walk/run/sprint regardless of whether the glutes perform their job competently or not. When the hamstrings or lumbar musculature perform a primary role the added stress eventually leads to pain and breakdowns.
Imagine an automobile assembly line. Take the majority of the workers from the front of the line where engines are being put together and move them to the end where the interior is finished. The line couldn’t function properly. Eventually people down the line would have to perform the job that wasn’t being done at the beginning thus causing more jambs further down. The line would eventually shut down. The human body is no different. Everything has to maintain its assigned role for proper function.