Benefits of Fixing L-R Balance

My L-R Balance is 60-40 on most rides, particularly during easy rides. When the workout becomes harder, this gets closer to 50-50, but still favoring the left left (e.g., 55-45).

My questions are:

  1. Aside from possible injuries this may cause (though haven’t had issues in the 2 years I’ve been riding), do I NEED to address this and aim towards 50-50?

  2. How do I address this if my goal is to aim towards 50-50? Is it merely a matter of focusing on the weaker leg? Specific drills like single leg?

A bit on my history, this isn’t surprising to me since in track (long jump) and basketball, I use the left leg to jump being right-hand dominant.

Appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

In regards to question 2.
Personally, I would ride rollers. Not all the time, not too much. I just find you need to learn to be smooth and the rollers can force you to do that. You could spend time focusing on one leg but I struggle to believe this is the best way forward. It could take a lot of work, and I am not sure an internal cue of working on a weaker leg is any more effective than focusing on an external cue such as ‘don’t fall off the rollers’ :grinning:
I am sure others have alternative ideas and experiences.

I have something of the same issue, but I know why and just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Our legs are not the same length and that difference might affect which one we favor. I know I need a shim in the shoe of my left leg to balance things out. I can see it because I use leather saddles that do, as the legend goes, form themselves after your butt. The left side of my saddle is depressed further down than the right. Maybe that’s my “shim” right there.

How do you measure L-R? Pedal-PM or other system?

@exphys That’s very interesting. I might have a go.

@dlridings Is your right leg stronger? I have a similar experience but shim and saddle on the opposite side.

@sryke I use a pedal-PM, the Powertap P1.

L/R balance has a lot of external factors. Even your seating on your bike will effect it. So as long as I hit the power, I dont mind to much.

I think my right leg is probably stronger. It is dominate at least. I was also speaking of shimming on the opposite (left) side.

During the long, tedious workouts, I concentrate on my left leg, do my own push/pull drills and the like. I think it helps to do so.

As mentioned, there could be all sort of factors that are contributing to this.

Assuming you have no injuries, or other specific reasons why one side of you body is significantly stronger than the other, I’d suggest getting a bike fit. Often a high power imbalance is a sign of being poorly fitted to your bike, even though you may feel comfortable. High saddles or the width saddle for example, mean you shift to one side slightly and that plays out in the numbers you’ll see, with a favoured side rather than an exaggerated rocking motion. This is just one example, there are loads of reasons, hence getting a bike fit from a reputable source.

It’s normal to see a slight discrepancy (I’m normally 51/49 or 52/48, with a stronger left leg, rarely the other way round), but anything more than 3 or 4% without an obvious root cause is worth checking out with a bike fit.

I have a left only PM, so don’t know what the actual power difference is between both legs, but I’m fairly sure it’s significant, just based on muscle size, and single leg squats. My right leg is much more muscular than the left, and can do 10 reps of a Bulgarian split squat, while the left fails at 6-7. I believe this is the result of a great deal of focus that was spent on that right leg during physio for a meniscus tear last year. Interestingly, when I go into an aero position on the bike, my power numbers rise for the same RPE, I think moving the hip angle forces my left leg to engage more (and the PM is in the left). Anyway, to your question, I’m trying to resolve the problem the same way it started, by doing lots of unilateral work this time focusing on the left leg. I’ve started things like Bulgarian Split Squats, and after a couple weeks am noticing a difference. I think it’s about teaching those muscles to fire. Of course I do everything for both legs, but at the same weight, so the weaker leg gets more of a strength workout, while the right leg is getting an easier workout, not reaching failure. Once both legs get to the same rep range at the same weight, I think balance will have been achieved, and strength will build bilaterally. Hopefully.