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Can a cyclist get lopsided legs?

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Can a cyclist get lopsided legs?

Old 04-20-15, 12:45 PM
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Can a cyclist get lopsided legs?

I would think that riders can't "cheat" in their motions very much, and so end up with asymmetric fitness, unless they're visibly limping or 'galumphing' in their pedaling. But maybe I'm wrong?

Does anyone know what power meters reveal for typical leg power imbalances? I've never tried such a thing. I sometimes will ride one legged with one foot unclipped. Both legs feel fine. (Old training trick for working on pedaling circles.)

The thing is that I've been unable to *run* for the past couple years due to an unstable feeling knee that swells and gets sore if I try to run. This knee is visibly less developed than the other -- the inner and outer thigh muscles are MUCH smaller. Totally asymmetric. How could that happen? I feel that when I'm riding or walking or XC skiing that I use each leg equally. No limp! Shouldn't I be symmetric?

Thankfully my biking still feels great! I've only lost the running so far.

The doc says my x-ray shows 'mild arthritic degeneration' or something like that. Minor stuff. She prescribed me PT, which I did.

But maybe gungho workouts like bike racing and ski racing have less affect on my muscle development than I think?

I do about 2 medium and 3 hard workouts weekly year-round in cycling or XC skiing (season depending). I'm fit, skinny, etc. AGE 54.

But, heck, it might be that how I simply *stand* affects muscle development more. Maybe how I get up from a chair is also a big factor. Bigger than exercise? Could that be?

When I did the PT for the knee the PT lady kept catching me favoring the wimpy knee when I was standing around. I'd stand on the other leg and have the 'bad' leg nearly unweighted. She said that if I made an effort to equally weight the legs that the 'bad' leg would catch up in its muscle development over time.

Thanks, JP

Last edited by JeffOYB; 04-20-15 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 04-20-15, 02:00 PM
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pedal based power meters like the garmin vector can show power differences between legs. I probably push harder with my right leg, though I don't have power meter data to support that.
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Old 04-20-15, 05:40 PM
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Yes. It's not uncommon.


The guy on the left is the German sprinter, Andre Greipel. Note the difference in muscle mass between his legs. The dominant leg is more muscular.

This happens to regular people (non-cyclists) also, it's just less noticeable because there is little muscle mass to begin with. You can work on this 'issue' by using the leg press machine in your gym to isolate the 'weaker' leg.
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