Reciprocal inhibition is a neuromuscular reflex that inhibits opposing muscles during movement. For example, if you contract your elbow flexors (biceps) than your elbow extenors (triceps) are inhibited. This is the idea behind active stretching, and one component of PNF stretching. It is an often overlooked technique that can be used as a pre session warm up or in between sessions to help improve muscular activation in certain ‘lagging’ muscles. Today, Dean shows us how it can be applied really easily with the reverse crunch for better use of the abdominal muscles.
An increase in neural drive of a muscle, or group of muscles, reduces the neural activity of functional antagonists. This plays a siginificant role in improving the effeciency of the human movement system, and creating ideal arthrokinematics. If a muscle becomes engaged for a prolonged period, such as a cramp, spasm or chronic tension, the opposite muscle becomes correspondingly inhibited. This response to dysfunction inhibits normal joint performance, which can result in deterioration of muscle, tendon and joint tissues. In the case of affected upper arm musculature, spasms in the biceps will likely lead to a discovery of weakened triceps. Whenever the agonist is much stronger than the antagonist, the agonist can overpower and injure the antagonist.