Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Side-To-Side Differences in Athletes

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    • #70326
      Avatarsimon brooks

      One thing that I have been thinking quite a bit lately is the differences that I see side-to-side with myself.  I figure this would be an interesting topic for all of us to discuss and share our experiences.  Maybe K-star can do a video based on this?

      My main sports I play are hockey, and baseball.  They are both very right handed dominant in regards to shooting, and throwing.  I notice I tend to lean to the left side when sitting, and the left hip when standing.
      The following are issues I have found that seem to only affect one side.

      – Right – side of my neck (1st rib) tight
      – Right – missing IR
      – Left – shoulder instable
      – Right – ql/lat tight
      – Left – adductor tight
      – Left – hamstring tight
      – Right – knee valgus
      – Right – ankle

      There is probably some relation to all of this, but those always seem to be the trouble spots.  

      What are you side-to-side differences?
    • #72377

      There is a Pro episode from last week which hits on this.
      Pro Episode #25 Matt Hasselbeck Edition: Advice for the Uni-Lateral/One Sided Athlete
      Working with dumb bells/KB can help balance differences side to side.
      Leaning to the left when sitting and standing is a compensation for tightness on the right side of the body.

    • #72416

      From personal experience I recommend that you start to fix it, yesterday.  No messing around.

      I played right handed sports for ~17 years before it caught up to me, but it did.  (Volleyball, badminton, and softball.)  The result was that the right side of my back got so strong that it pulled the whole thing into spasm, repeatedly; took months to be able to sit in a chair again without severe discomfort.  I’ve had to temporarily given up most of my sports and stick to balanced activities.

      For your reference:

      – Both sides- shoulder missing IR.  Right responds well to soft tissue work, left does not
      – Left – shoulder definitely lacking stability
      – Right – erectors, rhomboids, QL are crazy tight
      – Right – foot tends to want to wander out to duck foot more than left (I suspect this is a product of running on the shoulder of roads more than my strength imbalance, though)
      – Left – hip range of motion more limited
      – Left – tightness in IT band region and peroneals more pronounced than right
      – Right – tighter quad than left (tendency to pull this muscle when sprinting)
      – Both sides – valgus knee (correction in progress)
      – Right – ankle
      Basically from the waist up my right side is tighter and from the waist down my left side is tighter.  I think it’s a combo of the left side always balancing the right side when we create torque for throwing/shooting/hitting/etc.  Being both right handed and right footed, the joints on my dominant side have better range once loosened up because they are used to full range being used.  Left joints seems to remain stiff, which I assume is due to under-use and will undoubtedly take time to regain full ROM.
      The crappy stuff:
      Not playing sports I love.
      Pushups are a useless exercise for me as the right side will literally drag the left up no matter how hard I try to use the left. Pullups are a similar issue.
      I have been told that I probably shouldn’t do snatches because of the insane spinal torque created by my mismatched shoulder ROM. (Boooo).
      Always being that person modifying the crap out of the wod to make exercises isolate each side of the body so that you never finish in a time relateable to your peers.
      You are in line to be my fitness doppleganger.  Sadly, that is not a cool thing to be.  Don’t do it!  
    • #72429

      Hey Jeanette,

      Sounds like we have a lot of the same issues.  No matter what I do my left shoulder always seems to be unstable.
      No amount of mobility work has fixed it.
      You would think their would be a common template of “these things normal get sore in a right hand dominant” athlete.
    • #72430

      It doesn’t sound like it is a mobility issue.
      If you are working on mobility and not seeing improvements chances are it’s not a mobility issue.
      When considering movement quality or dysfunction, we usually break the problem into one of four categories.

      1) Motor control

      2) Sliding Surfaces

      3) Joint Capsule

      4) Muscle Dynamics

      It could be you need to start looking at improved motor control and sliding surface mobs.

    • #72433

      A template would certainly be nice, Brenlez!  I was really excited about the unilateral athlete episode, hoping for some serious guidance, but sadly the conversation stayed pretty vague.  Maybe I should write in to Kstar for more specifics.

      I think one of the best ways to fix the one-sided problems is going to be ‘becoming less one-sided.’  It’s not going to be a quick or easy fix.  If it took you >10 years to create the problem, expecting to fix it in one or two is probably unrealistic. Stability will come, though.  I’m currently a big fan of turkish get ups and anything that requires constant stabilization in my weakest position (overhead).

      It’s definitely more than just a mobility issue.  Kaitlin, what would you suggest in terms of motor control?  I’m working hard on becoming more lefty, but if there are more specific guidelines, I’d love to use them!

    • #72446

      There may not be a template as athlete’s find slack in the system in different places based on their individual difference, tight areas, restricted areas and what compensations the athlete has.
      Determine where you will see the biggest difference and go after that first.
      As each piece is solved you’ll see other things go into place or in a better place based on something new being in a better position.
      Becoming less one sided use single arm/single leg skills on both sides.
      I would recommend working on skills with transfer.
      Nate Helming, a coach with Team SFCF & Carl Paoli (Gymnastics Wod) have some great articles available on this.

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