Why do we do single leg work or single arm work? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to work both legs or arms at the same time? Yes and no! In this multi-tasking world we live in it would seem to make sense to do all at once but single leg, arm, side, etc. work is a very important part of Pilates and your workout!
Let’s examine why!
When we work both legs at the same time – it is hard to tell if one leg is stronger and possibly carrying more of the load. The same goes for our arms. If you are right hand dominate – you probably lift heavier objects with your right hand and when you must use both hands – more weight is carried by your right hand. Naturally, we tend to compensate for any weakness or strength in our bodies.
Over time, that repeated compensation can lead to problems. If you think about your car – we rotate the tires so they get even wear. If we never moved the front tires to the back, for example, we would have more worn tires and less worn tires leading to a possible blow out situation. Now image this with your muscles! Overuse injuries can be a result of compensating. What’s worse is the more we compensate – the weaker we get in the under-used muscle group.
Single leg work or single arm work let’s us focus on just that group of muscles and forces us to use them, build them and not ‘cheat’! It’s also a great way to see what our imbalances are so we can address them throughout the day. Using the excuse of “it’s just easier to always do it this way” is a recipe for future injury. It’s better to build strength on our non-dominate side now then try to get it while on crutches or in a sling!
Most of us will find some discrepancies in our bodies. Repeated habits have created these asymmetries. It’s nothing to be alarmed about but it is something to work on! Creating a balanced body will keep you healthy, strong and able for years to come!