The Contralateral Effect

Dealing with an injury? What do you continue to do in the weight room to expedite the recovery process and maintain strength?

There are multiple adaptations and benefits that you can take advantage of while training with your lower or upper body extremities depending on where your injury has occurred. For example, if you have suffered from a lower body injury to your left leg, you want to make sure that you are continuing to build upper body strength/stability, as well as training your right leg during your time at the gym.

Resistance training delivers global effects to the body both physically and emotionally.

  • Decreased risk of another injury
  • Blood Flow
  • Central Nervous System
  • Increased Self-Esteem

Now, what are the benefits to training your right leg while your left leg is still immobile? It is called CONTRALATERAL EFFECT (CE). Extensive research has been out for quite some time now on the benefits of CE and how it works. In short, if you are to strength train on the healthy extremity, the injured limb will also benefit from the training. Now, of course the injured limb won’t experience the same levels of strength or hypertrophy, but the benefits are proven.

Recent studies have shown that using training parameters of 3-5 sets for 8-15 reps in an eccentric fashion (slow lowering phase) might demonstrate a greater strength effect to the contralateral limb.

Don’t fall back to square one! Injuries are no excuse!

Want to learn more? Get your FREE Athlete Assessment with the TAP training staff.