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Dealing with Strength Imbalance in Leg

So, I’ve been “aggressively” increasing the weight I’m squatting (about 20lb/week) in an attempt to regain lost ground after I had to take about four months off due to thumb tendinitis in the past two weeks. During this, I learned that I have a tendency to rely more on my right leg/side to push myself out of the hole as the weight gets heavier and heavier.

Basically, I rise first on my right side and then raise my left side to where my right side is at when I’m 3/4 of the way up. I tried correcting this by consciously forcing myself maintain the weight on both sides and it’s incredibly hard on my left leg, especially in the calves. I don’t do this at all for lower weights.

So, my question is, how do I deal with this? Should I slow down on the weight increases and just wait for my left leg to catch up? Or should I do single-leg specific work like lunges to strengthen my left leg to the level that my right leg is at?

Bonus info - My left leg is also slightly shorter than my right leg due to an uneven hip. Could this be why I’m having this issue?

Yes to all of your questions.

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Yes to all of your questions.[/quote]

Couple things at play: You have a physical issue causing the problem, so unless limb lengthening is in your future, it’s something you’ll have to adapt to. If there’s a strength/performance discrepancy, more time spent with unilateral work can certainly help. If it’s a structural/postural issue, then just doing single-leg work won’t have as much impact (probably couldn’t hurt though. Probably).

Try some mobility work and foam rolling for the hips, glutes, inner thighs, calves, pretty much everything below your chest, on the front and back. That might loosen up some of what’s pulling your hips out of whack. Probably not a total cure, but a good idea anyway.

And if you haven’t already, I’d ease up on the “aggressive” strength progression. No way it’s doing more good than harm.

Thank you for the response!

Ya, I actually recently got a foam roller and began doing some foam rolling at night. The first time I tried tinkering with my IT band resulted in some rather incredible pain. It’s much better now though, and I’m hoping that continued foam rolling will help maybe relax the muscles around my hip. The whole smaller leg doesn’t seem to be from any structural problems, based upon a meeting with a chiropractor a while back. So I’m hoping that foam rolling/lifting/maybe some pilate techniques may help to deal with the problem.

Is there any muscle in the lower body that is not immediately affected by dead-lift/squat/good mornings that I should be especially aware of? Lifting has helped my posture immensely, and my end goal really is to just improve my general quality of life/strength. So any muscles that should be targeted for posture or balance issues are of interest to me.

Here you might search agile8, search also mobilitywod you might get tutorials on video to improve lower mobility plus if needed you tube also has some vids.
Yup after mobility, single leg, than focusing on strenght.
A B C.
Heat is a relaxant(hot shower/bath), also deep breathing when foam rolling/any mobility work.

So today I decided to test just how weak my left leg was in comparison to my right leg by doing some lunges.

Couldn’t even go past bw lunges with my left leg. Any extension more than two feet or so and my left leg basically couldn’t lift me back up, while I could do lunges with my right with full extension. I get the sense that my right glute/hip musculature is almost twice as strong as my left side, which is alarming to say the least.

Honestly I’m surprised by how weak my left side is. Makes me worried that I have serious imbalances elsewhere as well.