T Nation

Correcting Bilateral Strength Differences

I just wanted to let others in on something I have just started to do. I’m right handed and I’m noticeably more coordinated and somewhat stronger in my right hand and arm. To help correct this imbalance, I’m trying to unload, load and move my weights primarily with my left hand during my workout. It doesn’t take much longer and lets my left arm see a little bit more volume than usual.

I did that over 1 1/2 years ago. I am right-handed. Might this have contributed to developing “tennis elbow” in my LEFT (caps for emphasis–not shouting) arm, my weaker arm? This is just a guess, don’t want you to develop this!??

{being dirty minded} If you switch hands properly, you can gain half a stroke.

{clean minded} great idea! YOINK!~

I too have been doing that for a while now. I’ve noticed that I’m now very self-consious about my left-handed deficiency, so much so that anytime I need to pick up something heavy in everyday life, I’ll use my left hand.

Jason, that sounds pretty interesting; definitely
keep us posted.

Funny thing: I am right side dominant; in fact, my right arm is much stronger than my left. Why is it that every time I incur an injury or have a tendonitis flare-up, it's always on the right side? Usually it's bicep tendonitis or a strained A.C. joint. I used to get flare-ups involving the right ulna nerve, and if I strained a knee, it was always the right one.

Heres something weird. When i first started cheering it took me four months to do a good toss cupie(holding a girl above you with one hand) with my right hand. Guess how long it took me to do it with my left hand. Three tries. Now i cant do anything with my left hand normally. But i could stunt pretty good with my left hand. Im almost better at my left than my right and i hardly ever do a left cupie. Just weird i thought.

Awright, I’m a southpaw. Well, I draw and write with my left hand. BUT, in sports, I throw with my right, my primary kicking leg (for soccer) was my right leg - even though I could pass and kick with my left, too. I don’t use “lefty” scissors and never had to use anything “lefty”. Isn’t that rather odd?

I just chalk it up as one of my many "charming" quirks.

Ok, since we are on the topic of weird bilateral differences, I figure that I can contribute. I can dunk a basketball pretty easily and I’ve even competed (unsuccessfully of course) in the occasional dunk contest. You know when you see a guy jump up and totally lean one direction (like a 45 degree angle to floor) and then throw the ball down with one hand; you would think that I would lean to my left and dunk with my right hand. It is just the opposite. Other than that style of dunking, all my dunks are either two handers or right handers. Pretty weird stuff.

i’ve started trying to do more with my left hand too. i tried ian kings methods for fixing imbalances where you do a set with weak side, set with strong side, and than an extra set with weak side. that seemed to help strength imbalances a bit. my main problem now is just coordination. i dont have any precision in my left hand so ive been trying to do little things with my left hand in addition to handling pretty much all weights with it like somebody else had mentioned. since i started doing the little things like brushing my teeth with left hand, using the computer mouse with my left hand, etc. i seem to have acquired a lot more functionality with it. believe it or not, it took me about 3 or 4 months before i could do an adequate job brushing my teeth without having to use my right hand at all.

This is something that has bothered me since the first tie I trained with weights. Most people do have the same problem. Here is a movement which has significantly improved balance and strength on both sides…Take a regular barbell without any weight on it. stand straight up and with one hand grab the bar in the very center. now put it behind your head and do sort of a one hand push press. You will find that it is extemely difficult to balance the bar(The first time I did this I smahed the back of my head). Rest about 1 minute then switch arms. Do these on shoulder day and you will find that you have a better balance and strength on each side of your body.

I have actually been following this idea for some time now, grabbing the plates with my non-dominant (left) hand. Unfortunately, it hasn’t increased that arm’s strength to the point where it’s even to my dominant arm. What’s even more odd is that my right arm is smaller in diameter by nearly 1/2", but stronger than my left arm. It’s not noticeable unless I’m flexing, and only if I point it out to others, so I’ve pretty much given up on trying to “fix” it.

Weird bilateral tricks? This one is right up my alley. My sophomore year in high school I got kicked in the face by a goalie from another team who happened to be 6’5" (I was about 5’4" at the time). He was an All-American in high school and got a full ride to play for Duke. I, on the other hand, had four cleat marks on the right side of my face for two weeks, but that’s not the worst part. Now, I can click my right jaw, but I can’t (nor could I ever) click my left. I suppose I ought to have it checked out eventually…

i’m right handed but my right side is weaker and smaller.
i need to work on my overall strength but would like to add size to my right side.
how would i go about this?

one-armed db presses will correct any pressing imbalances, one arm chins pulling imbalances, one leg squats leg imbalances, etc…

I hear ya on that one. When my arms are unflexed my left arm looks slightly smaller than my right. Nothing extreme though. But when i flex my right arm looks a lot smaller than my left. I heard one time that people flex their non dominant arm most of the time. I dont know if that has any merit or not.

hey how tall are you jason? i wish i could dunk, but i think my legs are far from strong enough to propel my 5’10 ass to throw one down =P

Horace, sounds like you’re doing a side press aka bent press with the barbell. Yeah, the stabilizers take a beating with that movement. Besides brushing my teeth and holding mugs with my left hand, I’ve started pressing down on the switch and lift the electrical coffee grinder whenever I use it to train the left handed grip.

I’m 6’3". At 5’10", I can almost guarantee that you could dunk. But you have to train to do it. I had to learn how to jump and practice, practice and practice. I found that building up my squat and long sessions of jumping (trying to dunk) and eventually dunking is what finally got me to break each plateau.

Hey Jason that’s weird about the dunk thing you mention as I’m the exact same way when dunking with the left hand. I also agree with your statements on dunking or improving vertical jump…just work smart…i’m only 5’8 in bare feet myself and I have to agree with what tudor bompa said in his interview with Mike Mahler…He said that power is 90% strength. I have found this to be true myself…started out with a 23 inch vertical and probably a 150 lb squat. Improved my squat to around 400 and vertical over 40…no magic involved.

My only guess as to why we dunk this way would be that I can’t twist the other way. If I do a 360 or any twisting movement, I am 100% more comfortable twisting counterclockwise. Just a thought. I agree that building up the squat will majorly drive your vert up, but only if you are also practicing jumping.