The human body appears to be designed as a perfectly symmetrical machine. Yet most of us have a "smart" arm and leg and a "dumb" arm and leg. The "smart" arm and leg are more coordinated, flexible and efficient than the "dumb" arm and leg. Do you know which side is your smart side? And which side is your dumb side?
To find out, set up your TRX in single handle mode and try a suspended lunge on both sides. Then try single arm, high bicep curls with your left arm then your right. Unless you happen to be ambidextrous, chances are this little pop quiz demonstrated that you have a stronger arm and a stronger leg. If you’re right handed, you discovered that your right arm and left leg are stronger. If you’re left handed, you discovered that your left arm and right leg are stronger.
This is an area of training most people notice but never do anything to address. If you want to get the most out of your training, though, you should. Here’s how.
Diagnose your strong and weak arm and leg using the above test. Learn movements on your dominant side and master the motor pattern. Once you’ve mastered a movement on your dominant side, spend one third of your time on the TRX training your dominant, stronger side and two thirds of your time on training your non-dominant side. For example, if you’re a righty and you’re going to do a set of 10 TRX Lunges on each leg, start with 10 reps with your left leg—your "strong" leg—planted on the ground and your right foot in the straps. Then follow it up with 15 reps with your right leg planted on the ground and your left foot in the straps. Lefties, just do the opposite. After a few weeks of super compensating with extra reps on your "dumb" side, evaluate whether there’s still a disparity between the smart and dumb sides.
If your "dumb" side still feels dumb, keep following the protocol outlined in number 3 and check back in two weeks later to re-evaluate.
If both sides now feel equally strong and coordinated, go back to training both sides with an equal number of reps.
Fraser Quelch is Director of Training and Development for TRX. An expert in functional training and endurance athletics, Fraser has presented at events worldwide and is featured in numerous fitness DVDs. Fraser holds a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and in 2011 was named co-recipient of IDEA's Program Director of the Year award.