It’s pretty common for a runner to come to me feeling asymmetrical, with the right side seeming more dominant and with stronger glutes and quads. It’s possible for a runner to feel the opposite–that the left side is stronger–but that happens much less frequently. How does this happen and how can you fix it?
The first and most important thing to understand is that stronger is not the same as dominant. In fact, a side that’s working harder is usually less coordinated–hence the need for extra strength.
Both legs work together when you run, so having one leg stronger and the other weaker means that both are working suboptimally in opposite ways. There really is no such thing as a dominant leg or side in running.
You’ve probably tried to stretch out the stronger, tighter side and discovered it only helps temporarily. You may have tried to strengthen the weaker side and discovered that it somehow doesn’t work.
The only way to really fix this is improve the coordination of your two sides so they work more similarly. Then your strength and tension will start to even out simply from running, and if you choose to do extra strengthening and stretching to move that process along it’s more likely to be effective.
In this video I explain and demonstrate how this works in the specific example of a stronger right side, but you can apply the principles to any asymmetry that involves one side feeling stronger than another.
The free lesson I recommend in the video is called “Perfecting Your Footstrike.” It helps even out your two sides in addition to improving your footstrike, and it’s my best free resource to get you started improving your neuromuscular control to become more symmetrical. It should get you headed in the right direction.Get Perfecting Your Footstrike
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Jae Gruenke, GCFP, is a running technique expert and Feldenkrais Practitioner. Known as a “running form guru,” she is the Founder and CEO of The Balanced Runner™ in New York City and The Balanced Runner UK. She has helped runners from beginner to Olympian improve their form to become pain-free, economical, and fast.