In rehabilitation between-limb clinical decision making is commonplace, therefore, a baseline on the leg strength of each limb is important. When returning-to-play after a period of athletes being on their own, it is advantageous for the administrator of the program to evaluate the strength level of the training that has transpired while they were away.
It’s the nature of competition that athletes play through many types of injuries in their prospective sports. Under the control of the brain’s central nervous system skeletal muscles learn to contract in a specific order with great precision, this also allows them to derive different neuromuscular patterns in order to continue their activities with a relatively high level of skill.
As pain inhibits muscle function, minor bumps and bruises require various muscles of the legs to compensate for lost force of the affected regions.
Examples – When a player receives a minor ankle sprain the injured athlete might have a slight limp. The player still may be able to resume activity as it is healing. Returning and concentrating on play the body adapts by unbalancing some musculature that was balanced to take stress off of the affected area which aids in healing. Overtime, as the athlete still participates, they become weaker in the affected leg.
Even upper torso injuries often cause the lower body to slightly change its normal gait patterns as arm swing affects leg power and changes muscular patterns of movement in the lower torso. Over a season it may cause one limb to be more dominant than the other.
Pendulum Seated Squat Pro
When the athlete ‘returns’ it is important to find if their training absolved the problem of muscular imbalance or if it still subsists. A simple leg test will provide direction for program implementation:
On the Pendulum Seated Squat test the repetition leg strength of one leg against the other by choosing a repetition range of 15-20 reps.
Performing 3 sets rather than 1 set of each leg will give you adequate information, as the problem of disparity may not show until the second or third movement.
If you find one leg is stronger than the other, perform the following routine.
Example of a workout:
1st Set…Right leg 12 reps, left leg 15 reps…… imbalanced
2nd Set…Right leg 10 reps, left leg 10 reps
In this set the athlete was able to achieve 10 reps with the right leg in an all out effort – only do 10 reps with the left even though capable of accomplishing more.
3rd Set…Right leg 6 reps, left leg 6 reps
On the 3rd set in this example the athlete was able to achieve 6 reps with the right leg in an all out effort, the exercise is continued until he or she can not control the descent of the weight. This requires assistance from a spotter or the athlete uses the other leg to help control the ascent and descent of the leg. The left leg though capable of more reps stops the exercise after the 6th repetition.
After 2-3 weeks a healthy athlete’s right to left leg strength maximum acquired repetitions are usually even in all three sets – when accomplished resume regular lower torso training and Get Strong.
Single Leg Training on the Right Leg
Left Leg Training on the Pendulum Seated Squat