So I'm a female, age 26, height about 5'5', weight about 116-119 pounds, no medical conditions, no medication, was active in sports and regular exercise from age 11-16.
I have a few problems which lead me to believe I have some strength imbalance or that some muscles are tighter than others, or both. I plan on doing resistance training/stretching for everything of course but I don't want to exacerbate imbalances (i.e using hamstrings instead of glutes). First of all when I sit I just cannot sit with both feet on the ground. I usually put both legs up so my knees are under my chin, or I have one leg up, or I am sitting lotus style, or anything...just not with both feet on the ground. Seriously it doesn't take even a few minutes before I draw my legs up. I tend to sit with "turtle back" where my torso kind of sinks in so that the middle of my back is curved out, of course with rounded shoulders and head moved forwards. I have very tight shoulders, especially when I am doing something and there is tension in the shoulder of the arm I am not using (sort of between it and the base of my neck), and I tend to grip things too tightly. The weird thing is I have always been able to put my leg or both legs over my head with no effort, standing or sitting (I said it was weird), yet my hamstrings seem (relative to that) very very tight.
To continue, when I go walking at the park I get a horrible pain where my right upper leg bone (?) fits into my pelvis (it feels like it just doesn't fit in there right), but it doesn't happen on the treadmill. All in all except for my hamstrings I am not inflexible despite not doing much consistent exercise for the past ten years, but still I feel tense and stiff. I can't figure out which muscles: the glutes, hamstrings, or if it's my hip flexors that are the problem area. I know I have to try to strengthen my whole body but it can be very hard when there is always some kind of tension that seems to be in the wrong place, high between my shoulders becoming very tense when trying to do anything is a big problem for me.

2 Answers 2


I'd highly recommend seeing a local Physical Therapist. A full evaluation is required to properly diagnosis and plan a corrective exercise regimen based on your unique situation. I've included information below that provides an overview of typical patterns seen that are similar to what you're describing.

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Postural and Neuromuscular Dysfunctions

When evaluating postural distortional patterns, opposing muscle groups at a joint were classically described as being tight and weak. The assumption was that tight muscles were strong and weak muscles were loose, so the imbalance of bony posture at a joint was described as being caused by strong/tight muscles on one side of the joint overpowering weak/loose muscles on the other side. It is now understood this description does not fully and accurately describe the state of the relationship of these muscles groups to neuro-myo-fascio-skeletal posture and function.

Tight vs Weak Musculature

Current wisdom favors the use of the terms overly facilitated and overly inhibited muscles. These terms incorporate the role of the nervous system (NS) in recruiting musculature to contract for postural patterns. Overly facilitated muscles are excessively favored by the NS to contract; and overly inhibited muscles are under recruited by the NS to contract. The facilitated muscles end up overly concentrically contracted and short; and the inhibited muscles are overpowered by the facilitated muscles and end up being pulled long. This results in the imbalanced pull across a joint and the resultant altered posture.

Neuromuscular System Contributions

Certainly, the overly facilitated muscles can be described as tight. But it is not accurate to describe the inhibited muscles as loose. Ironically, because of the constant pull by the overly facilitated musculature, the overly inhibited musculature must increase its tone in an attempt to counter the overly facilitated musculature, and ends up being, in a sense, overly facilitated itself and tight as well. Hence we have two opposing muscle groups, the “facilitated” muscles tight and short, in other words locked short; and the “inhibited” muscles tight and long, in other words locked long.

And because the length-tension relationship of muscle strength demonstrates that a muscle is strongest at resting length, and weaker when it is longer or shorter; we can say that both groups of muscles across the joint are overly weak. The inhibited musculature might be relatively weaker than the facilitated musculature, but in reality, both groups are weak. Effectively we have tight and weak musculature on both sides of the joint. A classic example of this would be the anterior pectoral musculature (locked short; tight and weak) and the posterior shoulder girdle retractor and thoracic spinal extensor musculature (locked long, tight and weak).

Common Treatments

Just to give you an idea how these types of dysfunctions are commonly treated. Please follow your physical therapists plan, based on your eval.

  • Soft tissue manipulation (massage)
  • Static stretching
  • Dynamic stretching
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Clinical Orthopedic Manual Therapy (by Dr. Joe Muscolino)


Have you had any accident? Like falling on your right side / right hip? Or maybe you tend to sit on your foot. In both cases your hips / pelvis is not leveled, and that causes problems you've described. Best is to find out therapist. Mean while you can check this, and that videos. The exercise is very simple exercise you can try, and check if that is the case. Problem can be caused by pelvic tilt. Which means that it is shifted forward or backward. Here is other video, describing this problem. That tilt has influence on spine, and upper body. That is why I think that in your case problem is with side shift. What else it can be - watch your legs, when you are walking / running. Are feet putted the same? Problems with pelvic can be caused by feet. For that treatment isn't very complicated. As you could see - exercises are pretty simple, but you need to know what to do. Therapist is good choice. At least 2-3 visits, to guide you. After that a visit every year, or maybe twice per year - just to catch problems sooner, before you have pain.

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