Leg strength discrepencies



msummers

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Jun 27, 2005
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Is it possible for one of your legs to be a little slower than the other? Sounds strange but what if the brain muscle connection is a little off on one side than the other. I find myself needing to conciously push my right leg a little more forcefully (or so it seems) or my power seems to trail off. My buddy said maybe I have a chronic tight IT band or hamstring or flexor that might try to protect itself and tries to reduce the strain of a forceful shove on the crank. So I have to more or less command it to push. It doesn't really hurt when I consciously force the right stroke, but it does feel, let's say,a bit more labored. I do not have a length difference or at least not one I can see. Any thoughts?

ms
 

Eden

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Feb 28, 2005
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I definitely have an actual strength discrepancy between my right and left legs. I'm left leg dominant and that is the stronger one. I find it to be noticable and I've seen it confirmed. When I got my new bike fit the guy hooked me up to a pedal stroke analysis machine and I could see on a graph what each leg was outputting in real time (and each pedal stroke through the whole circle - pretty cool to say the least - would be a pretty serious training tool if you had access to it all of the time). I could really see that my left is stronger than the right.
 

msummers

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Jun 27, 2005
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Eden said:
I definitely have an actual strength discrepancy between my right and left legs. I'm left leg dominant and that is the stronger one. I find it to be noticable and I've seen it confirmed. When I got my new bike fit the guy hooked me up to a pedal stroke analysis machine and I could see on a graph what each leg was outputting in real time (and each pedal stroke through the whole circle - pretty cool to say the least - would be a pretty serious training tool if you had access to it all of the time). I could really see that my left is stronger than the right.
Thanks Eden
I knew I wasn't crazy. Do you do anything to compensate? Since cycling is a sub maximal strength activity how do you get evened out?
ms
 

Eden

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Feb 28, 2005
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msummers said:
Thanks Eden
I knew I wasn't crazy. Do you do anything to compensate? Since cycling is a sub maximal strength activity how do you get evened out?
ms
The guy who did my fit implied I'd have to hire them to coach me to find out.......:rolleyes:

I can't afford it right now, but I gather if I hired them to coach me I'd get a more in depth pedal stroke analysis and a list of gym/weight exercises to do to not only take care of the leg discrepancy, but to help smooth out my pedal stoke as well. The analysis was pretty darn cool - even in the 5 or 10 min he had me hooked up to it for the fit I could get a feel for what a smoother stroke felt like and see the difference on the screen.

right now I don't worry about it too much - its only noticable to me if I am going max out - my left leg actually tires more quickly and very occasionally if I am doing a really long fast hill climb I'll get a little bit of gluteal cramping - yeah that can hurt! I think it is compensating for the right by doing more work
 

JimE

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Jun 16, 2006
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I believe it's fairly common to have leg strength imbalances due to any number of factors. 10 years ago I popped my ACL skiing. I was 50. That seemed to upset the balance ALOT. In fact, during rehab, I was told they wanted to my hurt leg show 10% stronger on the muscle strength test, than my good leg.

Long story short, when I bought a new bike 3-4 years ago, I also got a Polar HRM and the Power unit for it. The Polar Power unit measures the leg balance, too, so I know if I'm my favoring my bad leg or not. That's why I got it. That and I like geeky toys.

So, if you've got the money, you could go that route. Maybe other power units measure leg balance, too, I don't know.

Or, you could hop on your trainer and do 1 legged workouts paying attention to your gut feel on how hard you're working each leg. Just because you do 5 1 minute one leg workouts on each leg, doesn't mean it's the same effort on each leg. That's the gut feel or perceived effort part.

Best of luck,
Jim