As someone who believes in “everything in moderation” (a future blog post) I don’t just focus on swimming, biking and running. I also lift a few times a week, do yoga occasionally and find other ways to stay fit.
Unfortunately, most of us are not born ambidextrous. I am no exception and definitely favor one side over the other. Most of the common lifting exercises people do involve weight bars and nautilus style machines which doesn’t allow you to work your muscles independently.
Take a look at the chart to the right. That is an actual measure of my personal muscle quality and as you can see I definitely favor one side of my body over the other. There is lots of chatter about muscle imbalance, which usually means one opposing muscle is stronger to the other, which can cause injury. For example, working out your chest and not your back can cause your shoulder to pull forward resulting in neck, shoulder, back issues.
What I am referring to in the context of this post is when one muscle on your left side is stronger than the other. For example, you can see in my muscle quality measurement my left side is in better shape than my right side, especially my glutes, hamis and calves. This can cause runners to over use one leg without even realizing it resulting in more stress and ending in injury over time. The differences can be subtle and you might not realize the strain your are causing with each stride, which overtime can where you down.
The tip here is simple, work in exercises that allow you to exercise both sides of your body independently. Instead of using both legs at the same time when doing leg extensions and leg curls on the nautilus, lower the weight and do one at a time. Instead of using the rope to work both of your triceps together, lower the weight and work one at a time. Instead of doing the bench press with a bar, do dumbbell presses. You get the point…
I will be interested to track my results overtime as I practice what I preach. Based on the chart, do you think I am right or left handed?
BTW, many people will argue (and I agree) that BMI (Body Mass Index) is a poor measure for health and there are many research articles out there discussing the benefits of measuring muscle quality instead. Click here for a link to some articles from Google. I was able to measure my own muscle quality using the Skulpt Aim Device. This will be another topic for an upcoming blog post.
Time to get Geeky!