by Steve Hess MEd, MATS and Chris Camacho MA, CSCS
NSCA Coach January 2014
Vol 3, Issue 1
It is often difficult to develop the bilateral symmetry necessary to perform athletically at high levels, especially when there is a propensity for one side of the body to dominate muscular strength, balance, neural patterns, and movement. Take for example swinging a golf club or baseball bat. For these movements, the athlete is in a fixed stance, rotating their body in the transverse plane to perform the necessary athletic movement.
It has been shown that if one were to take an athlete who swings, throws, or kicks for their sport, and ask that athlete to perform any sort of movement screen or muscular balance analysis, it would be likely that a muscular imbalance or dominance would be seen in nearly every athlete tested (2,9). For a sport like basketball that requires movement in all planes of motion, the value of bilateral symmetry cannot be discounted or unvalued. In addition, studies have shown that bilateral symmetry of the lower limbs is correlated with better jumping performance (3,6,7).
This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »