Right Handed or Left Hipped?

The same question is asked about the chicken and the egg. Which came first? If you watch infants learning to stand, you will notice that approximately 90% of them balance on their left hip and drive their right leg forward before standing and eventually walking.  This creates a triangle pattern of asymmetric dominance.  Or in other words you could not possibly be right shoulder, hip, and ankle dominant. The practical application of this is that if you are right/shoulder dominant, you probably have better balance on your left leg, and you probably would kick a soccer ball with your right foot/leg. This is very important information to understand when applying corrective exercise techniques to your workout in an attempt to create a more attractive, symmetrical, and less injury prone body.

baby learn to walkThere are certain athletic populations that will be right shoulder dominant and right hip dominant.  These are athletes who use their left hip to drive for power.  They would also be using their right hip to decelerate momentum.  Both tennis and basketball players fit this description.  Right handed basketball players would jump off of their left leg when powering to the basket.  Tennis players use their left hip to accelerate into a serve, and also “run around” anything close to their forehand on groundstrokes while also pushing from the left hip. These movement patterns do not correct themselves, and I have seen many right shoulder dominant tennis former tennis players move like their left handed decades after they last picked up a racquet.

When corrective exercise specialists prescribe movements to someone who is significantly out of postural alignment, we start by training unilaterally (one arm or one leg at a time).  Once our clients have demonstrated that they can move effectively in relation to both sides of their body, a bilateral (both arms and legs) approach can be considered.  An example of this training philosophy would be to perform single leg squats off of a box or bench until both sides of the body are relatively equal, and then loading a barbell onto their back for a weighted back squat. Another example would be to first begin a single arm chest press on the floor before progressing to a classical bench press.  This is another example of why most resistance training machines are not very effective.  Most of them do not have the option to train only one side of the body, and if they do you are not required to use any stabilizing/synergistic muscles. Machine exercises are also typically assembled in a seated position. Most human movement occurs while standing upright.

So from now on you can tell people that you are left hipped instead of saying you’re right handed.