You may have noticed that one of your legs is slightly stronger than the other. The side with more strength is your dominant side and is generally the one you favor when stepping up, stepping down or kicking. Don't worry -- this is not usually a problem. But, if you'd like to even things out, some simple tweaks to your workout routine can help. It might even make exercise and day-to-day activities easier.
How it Happens
You might think that working your legs evenly with a strength training routine is enough to balance them out. However, if one leg is already stronger than the other, this only maintains the current strength in each leg. Additionally, if you almost always start a move with your dominant leg, your non-dominant side may not gain in strength as quickly or as evenly. In sports such as soccer, you may continuously use your dominant leg to the detriment of your non-dominant. This isn't a permanent condition and you can change it, which maximizes the benefits of your workout.
Exercises that work both of your legs at the same time aren't going to get rid of a muscle imbalance. You'll have to choose moves that allow you to work your non-dominant leg independent of your dominant. Leg lifts, one leg squats, one leg calf raises and single leg curls are good choices for increasing strength in one leg. Resist the temptation to do these moves on the dominant side as well. This might feel weird at first, but is the best way to balance out both sides of your body.
Besides adding moves that allow you to work your non-dominant leg, other simple changes to your routine can help even things out. If you generally start with your right leg when doing step exercises, for example, start with your left instead. This might take a little getting used to, but is an easy way to increase the work load on your non-dominant side. Add an additional set of repetitions with your non-dominant side when doing one leg moves. For example, on your dominant side, do one set of 12 repetitions, but on your non-dominant side, do two sets of 12 repetitions.
Balancing your leg muscles decreases the risk that you'll hurt yourself playing sports or exercising. You'll probably notice the results in just a couple of weeks because these activities will seem easier. You might also see an improvement in your balance and coordination. Once you feel like your legs are even when it comes to strength, transition to a workout that works them both evenly, which maintains both sides and prevents one from getting stronger.
- Bodybuilding.com: Balancing Act
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- Journal of Sports Sciences: Profile of Isokinetic Eccentric-to-Concentric Strength Ratios of Shoulder Rotator Muscles in Elite Female Team Handball Players
- Peak Performance: The Ambidextrous Athlete: By Working on Your Non-Dominant Leg You Can Improve Your Symmetry and Your Speed
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