When you look at athletes you will see patterns of asymmetry based on their sport.  A pitcher typically has freakish shoulder external rotation.  I remember working with a basketball player whose back extensors on the right side were double the size of his extensors on the left because of his position when dribbling the ball with his right hand.


Aluminum abstract string artwork backgroundAt first we might want to ‘fix’ it during the athlete’s training because we want to restore order somehow, we want to make them symmetrical.  The truth is, none of us is symmetrical.

Our bodies have a natural torque.  There are several reasons for this, some are habit based and some are just anatomy based.  Consider that we only have one liver and one heart.  Do you think they are located smack dab in the middle to keep us balanced?  No, not at all.  They are off-set with the liver on the right and the heart to the left.

So without getting too much more into the nitty gritty from the Postural Restoration Institute’s Myokinematic Restoration course that super-physio Brian Gastaldi and I took back in the fall, here is the Reader’s Digest version of how it relates to you.

Do you see what I see…

If you try to do the splits with one leg forward and one leg back, which way is easier – I bet it is when you have your left leg forward for most of you.

When you stretch your hamstrings, is one side always tighter – I bet the right is tighter for most of you.

When you are just standing around the next time, pay attention to how you are standing (or how your friends are standing) – I bet you probably are standing with your weight over your right leg and your left foot turned out a little bit.

How did I do?

running manIt seems crazy, but most of you will have the same findings and follow the same patterns.  Why?  Well in some ways it is complicated, in other ways it is one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ things.

Here are a few of the reasons:

  • We have a big blob of a liver sitting on our right side – we want to post that up by hanging off our right leg.
  • Our heart sits over the left side of the diaphragm, which changes the shape of the diaphragm and may lead us to shift our upper torso to the left a little bit.
  • Most of us are left brain dominant, which is the side that controls the right side of the body, so we tend to overload the right.

The consequences are some specific asymmetries throughout the body.  The first course focused on the hips and I have had some time to play around with it.  We just finished taking the Postural Respiration course a few weeks ago, which deals with the thorax more – but I will have to digest that before I share any pearls with you.

But at the hips you will see a predictable pattern of:

Right hip:  Adduction, internal rotation and extension

Left hip: Abduction, external rotation and flexion

So with this predictable pattern of asymmetry, we can do some equal and opposite work on each side to help you at least get over the left leg.  You will likely still have that bias toward the right side, but at least you will be able to use the left side.

So to restore movement to the left you would do:

Abduction, external rotation and extension on the RIGHT side

Adduction, internal rotation and flexion on the LEFT side

A little confusing isn’t it – let me show you two repositioning exercises that we include in the warm-up portion of our athlete training sessions – check out the video below.

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click on this link

To answer your question –  “NO” – you do not do the exercises on both sides, you do the one exercise (abduction) when lying on your left side and the other exercise (adduction) when lying on your right side.

Happy training!


PS – the spring/summer Varsity group training and HockeyStrong training schedule is filling fast (some sessions are already sold out) with returning athletes, but this week we are opening it up to new recruits.  So if you have been waiting for your chance to become the athlete you know you can be (while reducing your risk of frustrating injuries) then phone or email today.  519-266-6595 x 1 or info@revolutionconditioning.com