February 23, 2024

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How to strengthen the weaker side of your body?

How to strengthen the weaker side of your body?

Dana Santas, known as “Navigation makeris a certified strength and conditioning specialist and mind-body coach in professional sports, and the author of Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief.


It's completely normal for one side of your body to be a little stronger and more coordinated than the other side. If you're right-handed and have tried to brush your teeth with your left hand, you know what I mean. Despite how toned your body may look — unless you're among the 1% of the population Ambidextrous -You naturally have a dominant side.

The problem starts to get worse when the scales shift beyond their normal bias and your dominant side begins to bear an unfair burden. That's when you start to feel pain, weakness, and potential for overuse injury. Because muscles work in chains, problems with imbalance can become a chain reaction, affecting other parts of the body.

This is the bad news. The good news is that with a little awareness and some balance exercises, you can correct the imbalances enough to embrace your natural asymmetry in a healthy, pain-free way.

Having a physically demanding profession is arguably the most common way in which natural lateral dominance can lead to problems. As a mobility and mind-body coach working in professional sports, I see this a lot. For example, consider the order placed on the dominant arm of a Major League Baseball player. Often, overuse leads to tearing of the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, necessitating surgery to repair it.

You don't have to be a professional athlete to have physical responsibilities that exacerbate lateral dominance. Think of cashiers in the checkout lane repeatedly scanning items using the same hand or stay-at-home parents carrying their children all day on one hip. Anyone who regularly performs an activity that requires repetitive motion or force that relies on their dominant side can experience chronic pain and increased likelihood of injury if they do not take measures to address it.

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Parents who carry their children all day on one hip can exacerbate problems with lateral dominance, causing chronic pain and increasing the likelihood of injury.

Another common way people inadvertently intensify lateral dominance is by failing to properly rehabilitate after an injury. If you slip or slide your ankle on your non-dominant side, you will need to rely more on your dominant side to move around. Without balance rehabilitation, you will likely continue to favor your dominant side even after your ankle has healed.

Awareness is key to regaining more balanced movement patterns. By recognizing the ways you feed your bias throughout the day, you can make simple changes to help counteract overuse. If you carry a bag on your shoulder, switch sides regularly. When standing for long periods, notice if you keep your weight more in one hip and leg, and move around if you do. Even sitting on the same side of the couch every night can increase overreliance on your dominant side, so you should change your position from time to time.

despite of Walking It is a coordination activity. Pay attention in your next walk to ensure balance in your gait and work to correct any lateral dominance. If you feel you might favor one side, check your shoes for uneven wear, which is an indicator of imbalance.

Because we are naturally stronger and more coordinated on one side, there are some side activities that we cannot easily change, such as swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, or putting pen to paper. If you have responsibilities in your career or lifestyle that require frequent use of one side, it is important to practice a regular fitness regimen that includes exercises to help restore balance. A lot of my coaching work with professional athletes focuses on that.

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Important note: Before starting any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you feel pain.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, unilateral training, where you focus on one side of the body at a time, is the most effective way to enhance coordination with an exercise. By doing single-leg or single-arm exercises, you can ensure that you are putting the same amount of effort on each side equally. This approach not only helps correct existing imbalances, but also prevents their development. By focusing on each side individually, you work to ensure proper muscle firing patterns that enhance coordination and lay a firm foundation for symmetrical strength.

When it comes to unilateral strength training, dumbbells are the perfect balance tool, requiring identical effort from both sides. Unlike barbells or machines, which can allow the dominant side to compensate, dumbbells require each side to carry their load independently. This means that you are working to promote balance and detect and address any differences in strength.

Better yet, you just need… One dumbbell for a complete workout Incorporate unilateral strength training exercises. A sample of unilateral strength exercises that you can seamlessly incorporate into your fitness routine, including lunges (front, back, and side lunges), single-leg Romanian deadlifts, single-arm shoulder presses, and single-arm rows. For these and any other strength training exercises, it is important to do this Select the appropriate weight to your fitness level and focus on proper form.

One important difference between unilateral training compared to standard bilateral training is its unique effectiveness as a rehabilitation tool. research It has been found that when you train one side of the body with unilateral training, the other side is stimulated as well, and this indirect stimulation actually strengthens the non-working side. This scientifically supported phenomenon is called cross-education training.

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It is not surprising that cross-education training plays a major role in rehabilitation protocols for collateral injuries, such as the pitcher's UCL surgery mentioned previously. When one side is compromised by injury, devoting attention to the healthy side can prevent the effects of inhibition on the injured limb. The neural adaptations and strength gains achieved on the untrained side make recovery more efficient and effective.

Just as it plays a critical role in recovery from facet injuries, coaching through education provides a practical path for uninjured people seeking to correct imbalances. There is no need to focus exhaustively on the weaker side; By performing unilateral exercises with equal effort, cross-training supports the creation of balanced strength and stability.

By following this advice, you can safely embrace the talents of your dominant side, knowing that you are taking proactive measures to keep the scales in balance to remain pain and injury-free.