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Unequal limb strength, what to do?

alfresco

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I noticed this when I switched to doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time.

With leg curls I noticed a huge disparity between leg strength, my left leg being the weaker, like ~30. (Leg extensions, no.)

What’s up with this. Never saw this coming.

Question, how do I improve it, correct it, and prevent it from occurring again all the while not creating a greater imbalance between limbs?

As a side not, on long drives, my left hip starts to hurt to the extent that I have to sit lopsided or put a cushion under my ass for a couple of years now, not always but most of the time. I am thinking some kind of nerve impingement by correlating it with my leg strength issue.

Anybody?
 

jeroendebleser

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I noticed this when I switched to doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time.

With leg curls I noticed a huge disparity between leg strength, my left leg being the weaker, like ~30. (Leg extensions, no.)

What’s up with this. Never saw this coming.

Question, how do I improve it, correct it, and prevent it from occurring again all the while not creating a greater imbalance between limbs?

As a side not, on long drives, my left hip starts to hurt to the extent that I have to sit lopsided or put a cushion under my ass for a couple of years now, not always but most of the time. I am thinking some kind of nerve impingement by correlating it with my leg strength issue.

Anybody?
Ron,

I have the same issue but have it also in my arms.

I think mine stems from having had multiple spine surgeries/spine damage so in essence the same cause as in your case, nerve impairment.

This is just my guess though but since you seem to think of the same thing, we're probably right about the cause.

What to do about it? I'm no doctor so I can only tell you my personal experience regarding training to get both limbs equal again and you're not going to like what I'm about to say 😭

Imo nothing works to correct it. I've tried it all: more volume for the weaker (and in my case also slightly smaller) limb, less volume, more frequency, less frequency, ... The list goes on but nothing worked to get both limbs equal.

Now the good news for you is that the probable cause may not be permanent. If there's a nerve or nerves pinched somewhere, maybe they can make it free again?

I on the other hand with all of my spinal damage am just fucked, there's no way they can fix damaged nerves again 😤
 

carnivor

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I have nerve damage on my left arm, so I always train it 1st (when training arms). I train mostly isolateral or use machines that are plate loaded or have two weight stacks, so I can be sure both arms are doing there part. I try to maintain symmetry as best I can.
 

jeroendebleser

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I have nerve damage on my left arm, so I always train it 1st (when training arms). I train mostly isolateral or use machines that are plate loaded or have two weight stacks, so I can be sure both arms are doing there part. I try to maintain symmetry as best I can.
I do the exact same thing as you do but it doesn't translate to the weak limb catching up 😥
 

carnivor

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Ron,

I have the same issue but have it also in my arms.

I think mine stems from having had multiple spine surgeries/spine damage so in essence the same cause as in your case, nerve impairment.

This is just my guess though but since you seem to think of the same thing, we're probably right about the cause.

What to do about it? I'm no doctor so I can only tell you my personal experience regarding training to get both limbs equal again and you're not going to like what I'm about to say 😭

Imo nothing works to correct it. I've tried it all: more volume for the weaker (and in my case also slightly smaller) limb, less volume, more frequency, less frequency, ... The list goes on but nothing worked to get both limbs equal.

Now the good news for you is that the probable cause may not be permanent. If there's a nerve or nerves pinched somewhere, maybe they can make it free again?

I on the other hand with all of my spinal damage am just fucked, there's no way they can fix damaged nerves again 😤
Doc that figured out what was wrong with me said if he had seen me when it 1st happened he could have gotten me back to normal. Over a year later he figured damage was permanent.
I do the exact same thing as you do but it doesn't translate to the weak limb catching up 😥
I still have a discrepancy, I’m just trying to minimize it and not make it worse.
 

01dragonslayer

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I noticed this when I switched to doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time.

With leg curls I noticed a huge disparity between leg strength, my left leg being the weaker, like ~30. (Leg extensions, no.)

What’s up with this. Never saw this coming.

Question, how do I improve it, correct it, and prevent it from occurring again all the while not creating a greater imbalance between limbs?

As a side not, on long drives, my left hip starts to hurt to the extent that I have to sit lopsided or put a cushion under my ass for a couple of years now, not always but most of the time. I am thinking some kind of nerve impingement by correlating it with my leg strength issue.

Anybody?
What could help is you could start doing isolated exercises for each to bring up the lagging side. For your example you can do single leg curls this would slowly strengthen the weaker leg.
 

A50#

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Try using dumbbells and iso lateral exercises (Hammer Strength has alot of Iso machines) I had a nasty motorcycle accident a few years back and took a lot of damage to one side and this is what I did to bounce back
 

alfresco

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What could help is you could start doing isolated exercises for each to bring up the lagging side. For your example you can do single leg curls this would slowly strengthen the weaker leg.
That is what I am doing now and how I discovered it.
 

fisther69

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Maybe go to a chiropractor or something..the root cause probably isn’t muscle
 

alfresco

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Ron,

I have the same issue but have it also in my arms.

I think mine stems from having had multiple spine surgeries/spine damage so in essence the same cause as in your case, nerve impairment.

This is just my guess though but since you seem to think of the same thing, we're probably right about the cause.

What to do about it? I'm no doctor so I can only tell you my personal experience regarding training to get both limbs equal again and you're not going to like what I'm about to say 😭

Imo nothing works to correct it. I've tried it all: more volume for the weaker (and in my case also slightly smaller) limb, less volume, more frequency, less frequency, ... The list goes on but nothing worked to get both limbs equal.

Now the good news for you is that the probable cause may not be permanent. If there's a nerve or nerves pinched somewhere, maybe they can make it free again?

I on the other hand with all of my spinal damage am just fucked, there's no way they can fix damaged nerves again 😤

I had been making some good process in equalizing leg curl strength . . . until yesterday. Most of the gains seemed to be erased in the blink of an eye, just like that. So now I get to start all over again. Could be a fool’s errand like you said but it’s kind of a harmless challenge is how I choose to look at it.

Yes. I think there is some relationship here with my ‘nerves’ compounded by the chicken or the egg syndrome. Maybe the leg will fix the hip or fixing the hip will fix the leg. I am cautiously optimistic though.

Thanks for all your positive thoughts 😉 😩
 

jeroendebleser

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I had been making some good process in equalizing leg curl strength . . . until yesterday. Most of the gains seemed to be erased in the blink of an eye, just like that. So now I get to start all over again. Could be a fool’s errand like you said but it’s kind of a harmless challenge is how I choose to look at it.

Yes. I think there is some relationship here with my ‘nerves’ compounded by the chicken or the egg syndrome. Maybe the leg will fix the hip or fixing the hip will fix the leg. I am cautiously optimistic though.

Thanks for all your positive thoughts 😉 😩
Well I did end by saying your nerve-issue(s), assuming that's what's causing it, may be fixable so I didn't say you were basically fucked for life like I am 😉

I'm rooting for you to regain equal limb strength 💪
 

UCP

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I've noticed that all my imbalances correspond to a reduction in flexibility and as I've improved the range, the strength has come too.

Take a look at this stretch at ~6:30 and give it a shot if the weaker side is also the tighter side.


As far as the hip goes, I'd say test your ability to internally rotate your hip. If you're bad at it, get stronger and gain range and see if this reduces the pain.


No guarantees any of this will help but I'm a believer that most chronic issues are due to tightness/weakness, the human body was designed to be in pain. Best of luck with it.
 

alfresco

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I've noticed that all my imbalances correspond to a reduction in flexibility and as I've improved the range, the strength has come too.

Take a look at this stretch at ~6:30 and give it a shot if the weaker side is also the tighter side.


As far as the hip goes, I'd say test your ability to internally rotate your hip. If you're bad at it, get stronger and gain range and see if this reduces the pain.


No guarantees any of this will help but I'm a believer that most chronic issues are due to tightness/weakness, the human body was designed to be in pain. Best of luck with it.
Couldn’t agree more about the stretching. I stretch after workout. A lot of focus on hamstrings. I will check out the video and see what I am missing. Thank you.
 

rippedyearround

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Reps at 90%+ 1rm increase coordination. Maybe there's a way to apply that concept in a safe, isolateral way?
 

OuchThatHurts

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I noticed this when I switched to doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time.

With leg curls I noticed a huge disparity between leg strength, my left leg being the weaker, like ~30. (Leg extensions, no.)

What’s up with this. Never saw this coming.

Question, how do I improve it, correct it, and prevent it from occurring again all the while not creating a greater imbalance between limbs?

As a side not, on long drives, my left hip starts to hurt to the extent that I have to sit lopsided or put a cushion under my ass for a couple of years now, not always but most of the time. I am thinking some kind of nerve impingement by correlating it with my leg strength issue.

Anybody?
Hey brother, in every bilateral exercise I do, I have a given strength and I get that that's my max (no matter the weight or reps). But whenever I've switched over to the unilateral version of the same exercise, there's always a too-large-for-comfort discrepancy. My left is always stronger than my right. Always. Even my beard grows faster on the left. If there is any truth to the notion that we are given a specific amount of muscle fibers, than that may be just be a weaker side (in my case) or maybe a group or a specific muscle. It may be small or large. I've seen some crazy asymmetrical dudes.

The odd part is that I'm ambidextrous but my right is dominant, yet my left is stronger (just my luck).

Only thing left is if it's a new disparity and/or how big is it?

How big of a discrepancy in strength are we talking about?
 

alfresco

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Hey brother, in every bilateral exercise I do, I have a given strength and I get that that's my max (no matter the weight or reps). But whenever I've switched over to the unilateral version of the same exercise, there's always a too-large-for-comfort discrepancy. My left is always stronger than my right. Always. Even my beard grows faster on the left. If there is any truth to the notion that we are given a specific amount of muscle fibers, than that may be just be a weaker side (in my case) or maybe a group or a specific muscle. It may be small or large. I've seen some crazy asymmetrical dudes.

The odd part is that I'm ambidextrous but my right is dominant, yet my left is stronger (just my luck).

Only thing left is if it's a new disparity and/or how big is it?

How big of a discrepancy in strength are we talking about?

Lots to think about that's for sure. Many thanks for the overview.

I just started doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time
for shits and grins. So I have no real data point for how long this
disparity in strength has been going on but I noticed it about 6 weeks
ago.

Leg extensions, imperceptible strength difference between limbs.

Leg curls; if I can do 50lbs with my right leg and get 10 reps,
I can only get maybe 6 or 7 with my left leg on a good day.
(Last leg workout was not a good day.)

Arm strength via dumbells are pretty darn equal. And other muscle
groups, no significant or noticeable disparity.

Don't notice the strength difference in any other activity so in the
grand scheme of things it's no big deal but I don't want to ignore
it and have it migrate and have it start to effect how I walk, etc.
Then you get hip problems, then back problems, then neck. Well,
we all know how that goes.

Somebody on this thread mentioned it could be a nerve thing as my
left hip (had a short lived bout with sciatica which did spontaneously,
like over night, resolve itself) aches during long car rides. That is the
only time I feel any pain is when sitting. I have sat and meditated for
8 hours a day for a week and never had a pain in my hip. Go figure.

I am starting to think, as another mentioned, it is a nerve type thing
and related to my left hip so I am foam rolling and really stretching
to create some space and mobility in that area.

Fingers crossed.
 

OuchThatHurts

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Lots to think about that's for sure. Many thanks for the overview.

I just started doing leg extensions and leg curls one leg at a time
for shits and grins. So I have no real data point for how long this
disparity in strength has been going on but I noticed it about 6 weeks
ago.

Leg extensions, imperceptible strength difference between limbs.

Leg curls; if I can do 50lbs with my right leg and get 10 reps,
I can only get maybe 6 or 7 with my left leg on a good day.
(Last leg workout was not a good day.)

Arm strength via dumbells are pretty darn equal. And other muscle
groups, no significant or noticeable disparity.

Don't notice the strength difference in any other activity so in the
grand scheme of things it's no big deal but I don't want to ignore
it and have it migrate and have it start to effect how I walk, etc.
Then you get hip problems, then back problems, then neck. Well,
we all know how that goes.

Somebody on this thread mentioned it could be a nerve thing as my
left hip (had a short lived bout with sciatica which did spontaneously,
like over night, resolve itself) aches during long car rides. That is the
only time I feel any pain is when sitting. I have sat and meditated for
8 hours a day for a week and never had a pain in my hip. Go figure.

I am starting to think, as another mentioned, it is a nerve type thing
and related to my left hip so I am foam rolling and really stretching
to create some space and mobility in that area.

Fingers crossed.
I think if you do them independently long enough, barring some sort of nerve impingement, they shoul even out. My dumbell presses are very close but my left side always seems to have one more in the tank. But doing exercises unilaterally has reall helped. Hopefully there's no nerve damage or degeneration.
 

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