Most people have flexibility differences between the two sides of their body. This asymmetry can come from day-to-day activities. Perhaps you habitually carry your purse or briefcase in one hand, or maybe you always stand with your weight on one foot while waiting in line. This imbalance may also come from regularly playing a particular sport. If you play baseball, golf or racket sports, for instance, you rely more heavily on one side of your body than the other. If you are right-handed, chances are your right side is stronger but less flexible than your left. There are exercises you can perform to increase flexibility on your right side.
Pay attention to your habits during the day. If you always carry your bag in one hand, switch it periodically. If you have a tendency to stand with all of your weight on one foot, make an effort to stand with your weight centered.
To prevent injury to your muscles and ligaments, always warm up before stretching. Do your stretches at the end of your primary workout, or do at least five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or a similar activity before stretching.
Do asymmetrical stretches, or stretches that focus on one side of your body at a time. This will allow you to isolate the less flexible side of your body. For example, when choosing a hamstring stretch, you have several options. If you lie on your back and extend your right leg toward the ceiling, you are focusing the stretch on your right hamstrings. You can make better progress on balancing your flexibility with this stretch than if you stretch both legs simultaneously, as when sitting and reaching to touch both of your feet.
Perform more repetitions on your right side. If you have chosen asymmetrical stretches, you can perform the stretch on the right side of your body an additional time. For example, start your stretch on your right leg. Then alternate left, right, left, right. At the end, you will have performed three stretches on your right leg and two on your left. This additional repetition can help balance your flexibility over time.
Hold the stretch longer on your less flexible side. When stretching the right side of your body, hold the stretch for 40 seconds. On your left side, hold the stretch for 30 seconds. These extra seconds can help increase the flexibility of the muscles on the right side of your body, says Denise Austin, author of "Sculpt Your Body with Balls and Bands."
- Back Care Basics: A Doctor’s Gentle Yoga Program for Back and Neck Pain Relief; Mary Pullig Schatz
- Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners; David Coulter
- The Testosterone Advantage Plan; Lou Schuler
- Sculpt Your Body with Balls and Bands; Denise Austin
Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.