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Does your left leg know what the right leg is doing?

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Does your left leg know what the right leg is doing?

Old 03-16-03, 08:03 AM
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Does your left leg know what the right leg is doing?

Something that was quickly brought to my awareness as I began jogging as a way to stay somewhat fit this past (yes, that's right, past ) winter, is that cycling makes it quite easy to favor use of one leg over the other. Being a runner on the other hand doesn't seem to allow such luxury, more experienced runners may know tricks to rest one leg at a time, but at the begginer's level it requires very near equal effort from each leg. The discovery that I'm right legged on the bike has given me cause to make adjustments to further my cycling abilities.

Yesterday the weather finally allowed me to pull the roadie down off the hooks and go for a ride with the new objective of becoming a unilegeral cyclist. I found unfortunately that old habits die hard.

Do your legs work as an equal team in the cycling effort or does each leg contribute at a different exhertion level unaware of the other leg being in existance?
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Old 03-16-03, 08:12 AM
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I sometimes think my right leg works harder, and have to consciously push harder with my left leg to make up. However I think this is all in the mind, since (when at home) if I tense the muscles in both legs in front of a mirror they look and feel symmetrical.
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Old 03-16-03, 08:22 AM
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I think I follow you on this one. I know for certain that my right leg is my dominant one. It is the one doing most of the work on the bike. However when the chips are down, I can feel the left leg pushing just as hard.
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Old 03-16-03, 09:18 AM
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While I'm right footed (kicking soccer balls, footballs, etc...) I don't believe either of my legs is any stronger than the other if only because of cycling. Pedal mashers may have different a experience, but if you've been trained to ride with a high cadence the mechanics of spinning will equal out any perceptable difference in leg strength over time. Consider working towards a targeted cadence of 90 - 100 and it will force you to develop a smoother, and fluid pedaling action that will allow you to ride longer with less fatigue.
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Old 03-16-03, 09:31 AM
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First, a lot of people (not necessarily cyclists) that think their right leg is stronger are wrong. Kicking a ball with the right leg means you are putting the left leg in the position of supporting weight and balancing the body, which isn't easy. This is why most right handed high jumpers and long jumpers launch off of the left foot.

Second, muscle imbalance can occur from long periods of cycling and is best addressed off of the bike through weightlifting. Work the legs individually. While squats and leg presses are great, they do not allow you to monitor the ways each leg is contributing. Address this with leg extensions and curls done one leg at a time. Do not increase the weight lifted by the stronger leg until the weaker leg catches up.

Third, measuring the muscle mass can help give an indication of potential problems but expect some small (normal) differences. When measuring, make sure that you are the same distance above the knee on both sides. Like many cyclists, I suffer from a light case of patella chondromalacia and, at the worst, my left thigh was a full inch smaller than my right. When I address the issue with rehab lifting I can get that down to half an inch and my riding is much smoother.
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Old 03-16-03, 03:57 PM
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I've never really thought I had a problem in this area. I've done some running in the past (even before I was seriously into cycling) and some long distance walking too. Maybe I should go and confirm everything's OK with a run along some of the 42km of golden beaches around here.
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