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  1. #1
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    Strong Leg/Weak Leg

    I've been racing road and 'cross for several years now and am currently cat.2. My problem is that with increased strength and fitness my right leg has developed considerably more than the left one. So much so that it is obvious to look at. My left leg is also longer than the right, I've been told by the guy who did my last bike fit that this has something to do with it.

    Sooo, whats the answer? Platforms to even things out? Is it that simple? I've tried to consciously work my left leg more when out riding but it is something difficult to gauge. Any tips would be great, thanks.

    On a side note, I had a nasty spill in Portland last week that required 8 stitches below my right knee, forcing me to take a welcome break. I have been considering using this opportunity to strengthen my left leg only by riding an indoor trainer with it solely for perhaps 30-45 min every/other day. Is this recommended?

  2. #2
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    That is a really long single leg ride. It is a good idea to do single leg riding to prevent your situation. However, as drastic as you describe the difference, especially with a significant difference in leg length, I would want to know why. A good sports medicine Dr or chiropractor or PT (can you get one with all three combined?) can look for other problems.

    I bet you will have troubles if you try to ride that long one leg. You would probably do really well to train alternating one leg riding very frequently though.
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  3. #3
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    Maybe we should get together and swap. It's my Left leg that's stronger!

    Definitely do all you can to find out the cause of the length discrepancy.
    Last edited by goneskiian; 12-09-2009 at 11:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    Just a thought I had, (I don't have this problem or any experience with it), but you could try only using clipless pedals on your left foot, and flats on the right for your training rides. The main downside of this that I can see is that it could create bad habits.

  5. #5
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    Simple shim under your right cleat should help alleviate the leng length discrepency. I can understand how the longer leg wouldn't get as much extension and finish off the power stroke fully, but to be visually smaller sounds weird. One leg pedalling is a good way to help balance out leg strength AND improve your spin - since you don't have the other leg to help "cheat" on the stroke - but 30-45 minutes is VERY long. I'd think start for shorter periods and work your way up to longer. If you try and make it that long I tend to think you'll have some trouble walking, standing etc for a few days after Go slow, start small and work up.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom893
    Just a thought I had, (I don't have this problem or any experience with it), but you could try only using clipless pedals on your left foot, and flats on the right for your training rides. The main downside of this that I can see is that it could create bad habits.
    facepalm.jpg

    Get a better bike fit. Maybe change the insole of one of your shoes?

  7. #7
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    If he changes the insole to a thicker one, then he will either have 1 very tight fitting shoe and one not tight or need to buy a bigger size to accomodate this. This is why when fitted by a pro they add shims under your cleats for this sort of things - common sense really, but then again when has common sense been common

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotta Know
    facepalm.jpg

    Get a better bike fit. Maybe change the insole of one of your shoes?
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  8. #8
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    Been there

    I had a similar problem for a bit...... well. I still have one leg slightly longer ( not uncommon ) The muscle tone became visually noticeable as well - not freakish, just more toned and a bit bigger, especially in the calf. Worked it out by sliding the cleat back on one shoe and adding a small shim... I think. Your best bet is to have this addressed in a fitting. Keep in mind that leg length discrepancy can be attributed to a number of things other than bone length i.e.... such as hip socket displacement etc.... Not sure how big a difference you got....... But, you should visit a Dr. and have a solid diagnosis; so, that it can be become part of your lifetime physical therapy plan. What is just an inconvenience in your riding now, can become hip replacement surgery from the imbalance from walking running and everything including cycling.
    I'm sure someone with real medical expertise will correct me somewhere in here.
    I am not a Dr......... this is just from personal experience!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the help, folks.

  10. #10
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    Maybe even incorporate an off bike workout program that uses a lot of unilateral (single leg) work. Lunges, step-ups, and split-squats are some examples of such exercises.
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  11. #11
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    If one leg is longer than the other, then it makes sense to add a shim to your shoe or whatever. That still won't completely even things out, because you can't put a shim between your femur and tibia.

    As far as doing special exercises to "even things out", I think it's idiotic and a recipe for injury. If you do enough challenging riding, you will be forced to recruit your weaker leg.

  12. #12
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    I have been dealing with this as well. I have done the insole thing, and as far as the shoe fitting tighter, yes, it is a little, the you just don't tie it as tight.

    It sound like you do a little more training then me, but my leg length discrepancy, has caused me to favor one leg more then the other, making one stronger. Now that I am exercising more, I am becoming more balanced. My point is, your training might not be the issue, as much as everyday activities you do which you might use only your strong dominate leg for. After looking for it, I noticed that if I were going up one step, I would usually try to use the same leg all the time, my strong one. Well That leg is always going to be the strong one if I never use the other one!

  13. #13
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    i have similar issue with dominate leg (right) being more muscular than left. Calve and quad teardrop are more developed in right leg. I've always been annoyed by this and have done, as others have noted, single leg work in my workouts to equal the imbalance. Single leg squats etc. Whats interesting is that when i take measurements they are equal? So it maybe my perception. Most have the same issue with upperbody as well. You go through your whole life favoring one leg, so it will take some time to make up for it. I think as your legs grow they will balance themselves out. I wouldnt worry to much about it unless its a real issue other than aesthetics.

    dt3

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