T Nation

Sore More On One Side


hey guys i have a question about this soreness i have after my leg workouts....every time after my leg workouts my right glute muscle is more sore than my left....this has happened like 3 times and its not like i worked my right more than my left...what can cause this?


Actually, you quite evidently have worked one side more then the other the real question is how this could happen.

I am curious whether you are left or right handed. One line of logic might suggest your dominant side is taking over especially during a bilateral lift. Note that it is to be expected that your body will find anyway it can to meet an imposed demand.

On the other hand, it might also be suggested that since your non-dominant side is generally weaker it is being stressed the most.

It has been my experience that the former is more likely. If the latter were the case your muscle imbalances would work themselves out in a relatively short period of time so even if it is the real issue you only need bide your time and things will workout on their own. However, if your dominant side is dominating your lifts this will reinforce your muscle imbalances and groove a poor muscle recruit pattern. Something must be done!

Your dominant side being stronger and generally able to command more motor units is working harder than your non-dominant side during your bilateral lifts. STOP. Start doing more unilateral work to correct your muscle imbalances. Also, when doing bilateral leg excercises focus on your weak side.

Hopefully, mystery solved and remedy found.


i am right handed.... so ur saying on my one leg exercises my right leg is working harder? i worked everything the same.


which side is my stronger side if my right glute is more sore?i did do a unilateral movement (bulgarian split squat) which side is stronger? how do i fix this?


Considering the fact that you are in fact right handed it seems likely that your more neurally efficient at recruiting your right glute as opposed to your left in preformance of a particular lift whether unilateral or bilateral.

The trauma in the muscle caused by a training stimulus may not be equal even if the same number of repetitions are preformed in a unilateral lift. This is because in your case it seems likely your muscle recruitment pattern from left to right differs. That is, while on one side you may be able to activate your glute to a large extent to complete a lift on the left it may be less active and thus less muscle damage is caused to it.

Many other factors might be involved including tempo and speed differences from side to side. Recall a faster lift recruits more high threshold motor units.

Also, it is possible to produce more force then is strictly required to complete a lift on one side as oppossed to the other. For instance, my left may be capable of producing 110 lbs of force to complete a 100 lbs lift, but my right is capable of producing 120 lbs of force to complete the same lift. Obviously my right is preforming more work even during the course of the same number of repetitions in a unilateral excercise. Of course this in itself will affect the speed of the lift and that might be a good indicator for you to keep track of.

Finally, for a recomendation. I advise you to make single limb work a more substantial part of your workouts especially for a while to help you address any imbalances. Single limb excercise that emphasize the glute are even better as this will assure that your left glute isn't slouching. In fact, I would eliminate any and all bilateral leg work for perhaps the next 8-12 weeks. If you want to throw in an occassional set of deep squats or something of that kind that's fine, but idea is to signficantly restrict this type of work.

In preformance of your single limb work be sure to lift on each side with the same tempo and speed. Also, try to notice any difference you feel in lifting technique from side to side and try to even out any disimilarities. Focus on that left side.

For some ideas on single limb excercises consult the following (I just did a brief search of the T-Nation site and I am sure there are other resources available as well):


I hope this helps.


so ur saying stop doing 2 leg exercises? why not do both? wont it even out? i was wondering...it might be cuz of the bulgarian squat stance for each leg....maybe for the right im stepping to forward which is workin the glute more and the left is closer which doesnt work it as much. and ive noticed when i do hyperextensions one side is getting worked more


Well, it seems like your are on your way to clearing up the mystery of this assymetrical soreness. Like I said it is fine to do 2 leg excercises in moderation, but I would relegate them to a more minor role in your workouts. The reason for this is that sinlge leg excercises permit greater focus on a single side which will help you fix any imbalances faster.

For you, at this moment in time, I think two leg excercises may have the potential to reinforce your pre-existing imbalances. At least that would be my concern.


To put it simply, do one-legged exercises for a while. This will not kill your squat poundages or anything.