There is a general thought that says if pain is the result of a muscle strain, the answer is to strengthen the muscle. If you build more muscle than it can perform better and the strain will be resolved. I would like to dispute this idea. Muscles generally strain because they are maintained at an improper length; either severely deprived or lengthened. This is the result of imbalances that occurs. For instance, the lower back muscles typically strain because they are severely shortened due to an imbalance between the quads (front thigh) and hamstrings (posterior thigh). The imbalance causes an excess arching of the lower back. This causes the lower back muscles to be severely shortened. Once shortened, they can not create as much force. This makes them more susceptible to training when performing functional tasks. Creating more muscle mass of the lower back will do nothing to prevent them from training. On the contrary, it will increase the chance of them training.

Conversely, the muscles of the neck strain because they are strictly over stretched. This results from an imbalance between the pecs, ant deltoids and biceps versus the muscles between the shoulder blades, posterior deltoids and triceps. The imbalance causes a forward shoulder post which separates the shoulder blades at rest. Since the neck muscles attach to the shoulder blades, they end up being over stretched and again are intolerable to training when performing their functional task of supporting the head.

A muscle's ability to create force is based on keeping its fibers in a position where there is the most amount of congruency between the fibers. Once severely deprived or lengthened, the congruency is lost. The fibers either bypass either or other do not reach each other fully. Muscle fibers consist of two proteins; actin and myosin. The actin fibers look like golf balls and the myosin fibers look like golf clubs. For a muscle to create force, the strings of golf clubs engage the strings of golf balls and pull themselves along to the adjacent golf balls. The golf clubs “slide” along the golf balls engaging them to create force or the pulling sensation created when a muscle contracts. Excessively shortened or lengthened muscles loose the maximum number of locations where golf clubs can grab golf balls and thus loose the ability to create force.

Success in maximizing function results in keeping balance between opposing muscles which contains them at their optimal length. This allows the muscles to create their optimal force. This is much more significant then building muscle mass when it is not at it's optimal length. Attempting to build mass while a muscle is not at optimal length is more apt to cause a strain.