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Pedalling (a)symmetrically

jd843jd843 Posts: 59
edited November 2015 in Road general
Hi everyone,

I think I might be pedalling with my right leg more than my left. After a tough ride, my right leg is always more achey than the left. During a ride, it sort of feels like my right leg is doing all the work, and the left is just slacking off! I have to consciously think "left-right-left-right" while pedalling to force the left leg to put in an equal amount of effort, but it feels a bit uncomfortable after a while. I get a similar sort of thing when I run, too - it feels as though my right leg is powering me forward, and the left leg just... swings.

Is it possible than my left leg is significantly weaker than my right, so I subconsciously make my right leg do all the work? If so, are there exercises I can do to correct this, other than continuing to force my left leg to pull its weight? Or could it be something else, e.g. cleat position?

Any advice would be much appreciated! :)

Posts

  • sungodsungod Posts: 13,785
    if it's something you notice off the bike then cleat position etc. won't be the root cause

    it's certainly possible for one leg to be weaker, following an injury for instance, or there might be something else causing you to unconciously favour one leg

    a simple test would be to warm up for 5-10 mins and then do one-leg squats or jumps up onto a high step, see if there's a difference in range or how many reps it takes to fatigue left vs. right

    if you find there is a real difference, you can do exercises to develop the weaker leg, if you've got access to a gym discuss with a trainer to get a training program - you need to overload the muscle group(s) involved to develop strength, it'll take a while but is likely to give better/faster results than anything you can do on the bike
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I would go to your doctor to find out the cause. Injury not just to the leg can cause weakness and even after recovery favouring the stronger leg subconsciously. It could just be the way your legs are. Best to find out so you can deal with it effectively.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Try to get a go on a Wattbike, it shows the power being developed left and right. Could be a number of factors, musco-skeletal, neurological. Could also be due to poor bike position e.g twisted pelvis preventing you engaging the muscles correctly on one side.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,386
    Wattbike doesn't track left/right power individually, unfortunately.
  • I have a similar feeling but always assumed everybody has a dominant leg like they have a dominant hand. I don't see it as a huge issue but do make a point of consciously using my left leg. There is a strava sprint near me and I have made big improvements by focussing on accelerating with my left leg then letting nature take its course.
  • Sungod has some good tips, especially about the one legged test. If you have a turbo I would do it on that- warm up properly and then do say 5 mins with one leg and record the 'distance' travelled, then repeat with the other leg.

    A physio might be able to help as well, although I heard from mine that cycling is usually quite good at balancing out leg strength. There could always be quirks though, and everyone is different.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Pedalling asymmetry is normal. If anything, it's likely you have a leg length discrepancy or functional asymmetry. Don't try to 'work out' the weak leg, instead play with cleat position. Moving the cleat forward on the shorter/weaker leg.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • Wattbike doesn't track left/right power individually, unfortunately.

    Really? I thought the 'Polar View' was what this was? Or am I understanding this incorrectly?(Some might say not understanding it at all!)

    http://wattbike.com/uk/polar-view
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,386
    Wattbike doesn't track left/right power individually, unfortunately.

    Really? I thought the 'Polar View' was what this was? Or am I understanding this incorrectly?(Some might say not understanding it at all!)

    http://wattbike.com/uk/polar-view

    Wattbike power is measured downstream of the cranks, so by definition it cannot measure left and right power independently. So the 'polar view' thing is nothing more than a guess, at best.
  • philbar72philbar72 Posts: 2,228
    its pretty normal as Grill says. I'm right side dominant by around 1-2 percent. I don't worry about it.
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