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Fix body asymmetry
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Could you please help me with some advice on how to approach body asymmetry?

On the race pictures my right shoulder is almost always lower than left one. Most probably due to a life with a mouse in the right hand. I don't really notice it while running, everything just feels the same.

But the last year I started to notice more signs of body asymmetry. Left calf is much more tight during foam rolling. Left hamstring got strained a year ago during a marathon and gets painful after every long race. Even sole wear pattern is asymmetrical after the last marathon.

It give me less problems during biking, but the same left hamstring hurts more at the end of long rides.

I suppose the right answer is strengthening/flexibility/mobility, but what exercises exactly would you recommend? Symmetric lifts or one leg/arm? Back or quads? What should I stretch? Yoga?

I'm not against seeking prof help, but my randomly googled PT just told me to stretch hamstrings and quads once per day and come back in 2 weeks. Probably not what I'm looking for. If the recommendation is a good PT, could you recommend one in Boston area?

PS. About me: M41, marathon 2:57, IM 10:14, starting another IM training season.
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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Asymmetry is normal and typical throughout the population. No one is symmetrical. You are likely accommodating your hamstring injury in some fashion. Get that treated and don’t worry about the rest.
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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I can't recommend anyone in Boston as I live in Canada but after having some of the same symptoms as you I went to see and Physiotherpaist who is also a biomechanist. I was a month away from an Ironman and struggling to run 4 miles......diagnosis was a misaligned pelvis. Basically my left was long than may right due to my left pelvic bone being 1" lower than my right. ( Could be the reason your right shoulder is low ) After 10 minutes of treatment I felt like a million bucks and ran 21 miles the following day pain free.

Ever since I always make sure my pelvis is aligned ( ask your physio as it's much easier for them to explain how to do this ) and I have been injury free.....touch wood.

I hope this is the issue for you as it's a very easy and simple fix, the challenge is most physio's want you to keep going, my guy showed me how to stay aligned on my own. Find one you trust and ask them about your pelvis alignment, it's can't hurt.

Good luck
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [Triguybri] [ In reply to ]
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This whole sport is about posture starting with the complex pelvis. It's fully 3D so you can be front to back or side to side, twisted etc.

I doubt there is a mouse issue causing it. In my case it can be traced to adrenaline-fueled, high force/speed asymmetrical sports activity. Most sports carry with them some sort of imbalance except cross country skiing or walking.

The imbalance may also be physical like leg length, previous injuries and the like.

Doing the basics like front, back squats (with just a bar), dead-lifts can give you a clue to where to work. Again a good sports PT (hopefully with IMS) can fix to ID and solve issues.

This is stuff I am working with anyway - lots of improvement but not close to symmetry. That is probably years away if ever.

Training Tweets: https://twitter.com/Jagersport_com
FM Sports: http://www.jagersport.com/
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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I'd try running in front of a mirror and riding rollers in front of a mirror and see if you notice anything.

Proud member of Fishtwitch and the ST Grammar Police
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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I would recommend looking into someone who can do an FMS screen and provide a corrective strategy (disclaimer: I do FMS and provide corrective strategies. I use FMS with some of my bike fit customers, and have had really great results). You can find official FMS pros in your area at www.functionalmovement.com, although there are a lot of personal trainers, athletic trainers, and PTs who understand and utilize the concepts.

The Functional Movement Screen will help you determine where your asymmetries and deficiencies are. With that information, you can work with an FMS pro to develop an exercise program specific to your needs rather than wasting a lot of time on something that might not be what you need (and could potentially increase your imbalances). Much of what we do as athletes will only reinforce our asymmetries and imbalances (the amount of hip dysfunction I see in long-distance triathletes is concerning), so I'm a big advocate of doing some non-triathlon movement work to help improve the overall human athlete. 10 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Also, you mention yoga: Yes - go for it! Really good stuff!

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [Triguybri] [ In reply to ]
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What did your physio do to fix your pelvic alignment??
Mine is out too, resulting in a functional leg length diff of over 1cm...
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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This may or may not help. I'm a life-long swimmer, and breathe to my right 95% of the time. Then, when I ran much more, I found that my left shoe would be worn much quicker on the outer heel. A few months out of Boston 2007, I had terrible lower back pain caused by muscle spasms in my lower left back. The athletic trainer at the college where I worked measured me to find that I had a 3cm limb-length discrepancy. I started wearing lifts inside whatever shoe that was (I can't remember now).

I didn't accept that one leg was that far off from the other, so I had the assistant athletic trainer measure. She found that my legs were exactly the same length. She had measured anatomical length (hip bones to medial ankle) while the head trainer measured my functional length (navel to medial ankle). I started doing ab and core exercises immediately, and felt better within a week, and my running (and even walking comfortably) improved in a matter of days.

Years later, a shoe-fitter at the LRS suggested that the functional difference and the wear on my shoes was caused by my years of breathing to the right. Great hypothesis, and it follows what I experience: my left lats and shoulder muscles have more flexibility, as well as my right obliques. This is due to the slightly longer reach-glide that I do on the left side when I breathe to the right. The opposite muscles are tighter (right lats and shoulders, left obliques).

Well that's my story, and yours may be different. For whatever reason causes your change in running posture, it's worth it to work on core stabilization exercises. Flexibility exercises won't help, and it would take a long time for you to see benefits from stretching.
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
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I'd second Travis' recommendation for a functional movement assessment, as a first step.
You can't fix body asymmetry as such but should be able to do some compensatory strengthening etc to help prevent injury.

140triguy story is interesting, I am a lifetime swimmer breathing 99% left, but my injuries are equitable.. L calf is tight, L has chronic insertional Achilles, R leg has sciatica/piriformis issues.. all of this can be managed with appropriate interventions.
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [doug in co] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for the recommendations! I'll try to find a FMS service here and start with it.
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Re: Fix body asymmetry [SBRcanuck] [ In reply to ]
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Sent you a PM
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