ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
RatCreature ([personal profile] ratcreature) wrote in [community profile] lifting_heavy_things2015-01-19 11:13 am

what to do if body sides progress unequally?

Like for example, I recently noticed that when doing sideplanks, it is somewhat easier on one side than the other, i.e. I could hold the plank longer on one side than the other if I hold it as long as possible. Also when doing split squats, I can do it slightly easier on my left than my right leg. How do I best help the "weaker" side to catch up in an exercise?
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)

[personal profile] daedala 2015-01-19 02:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Two things:

1. Start moves on your weaker side. I at least reflexively use my dominant side first and then struggle to complete the reps on the weaker side. (Or "stronger" and "strong" sides, if you read Strongfirst. LOL.) Do what you can on the weaker side, and then don't do any more than that on the strong side.

If the imbalance is minor this should do it.

2. Do one set on your weaker side, one set on your strong side, and then another set on your weaker side. Don't try to make it even. If the imbalance is big, this should help. (H/T Bret Contreras.)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)

[personal profile] daedala 2015-01-20 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, yeah, if you just don't want it to get worse, that should be sufficient. I hope it helps!

It can be really weird. Especially whole-body exercises. I tried to start my Turkish get ups today with my left arm up and got completely confused because I'd had my legs set the other way. I got started and couldn't figure out for a few seconds why it wasn't working.
weirdquark: woman with barbell across shoulders (weights)

[personal profile] weirdquark 2015-01-20 08:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I've also seen the suggestion (Nia Shanks, I think?) to start on your stronger side and do your goal number of reps, and then do that many reps on your weaker side, putting in a brief pause (say 5-10 seconds) at some point if you have to. (For example if I do 8 reps on my strong side I'd do as many as I can (let's say 6) put the weight down for a few seconds, and then pick it up again and do the last 2 reps.) My rule is that I can't move up in weight until I can do my goal number of reps on both sides without a pause.

But basically the way to not make the imbalance worse is to make sure you're not doing extra reps/time on your stronger side; either keep it the same or favor the weaker one until it catches up.