The Seriousness of Asymmetries

How many of you think asymmetries in the body need to be addressed? If you know anything about Egoscue or have been reading this blog for any length of time, I hope you know that we believe they are extremely important and MUST be addressed. We believe that, if left unchecked, asymmetries (imbalances) in the body can lead to a myriad of problems. One can experience knee pain, digestive issues, and even infertility just to name a few symptoms.

I recently attended a conference on baseball injuries and was shocked to hear a head trainer for one Major League Baseball team present on asymmetries. His take? They aren’t important. Actually, his take was, “I don’t know. I don’t know if they are important or not.” Um…excuse me? You are the head trainer for an MLB team and you don’t know if asymmetries are an issue? How is that even possible?

His argument was that baseball is a one-sided sport. Ok, I get that. A guy only throws with one hand, or a hitter is usually a one-sided hitter, but that doesn’t mean his non-dominat side isn’t important and can therefore be ignored.

Let’s take this line of thinking to another sport. I’m not a big NASCAR fan, but we can use it as a good parallel example. NASCAR drivers only make left-handed turns. For 500 miles, they’re only going to the left. If this trainer were part of a pit crew, would he only change the tires on the left side? After all, the cars are only turning that direction. Should he just resign himself to the fact that “that’s just the way the sport is” and therefore not do anything to make sure the car is balanced? Of course not! There’s no chance he’d only change the left-side tires. And, if he did, he’d QUICKLY be out of a job. By only doing that, he’s putting everyone’s career on the line (and in this example, the driver’s life).

Being out of balance throws everything else off. I used a car example here, but let’s take it back to things we do every day. My guess is you want to be balanced throughout the rest of your day. The body is designed to be balanced (just like your car) and works exponentially better and more efficiently when it is. Walking up and down stairs, playing tennis, and even sitting at a desk all become much more challenging if you are one-sided dominant. Bottom line, you have to stay balanced.

I’ll even give this trainer the benefit of the doubt and agree that baseball is a one-sided sport. But what about training for baseball? Players lift, run, do plyometrics, use medicine balls, etc. Shouldn’t they at least be doing these activities with a balanced body? They aren’t going to train on only one side no matter how one-sided their sport is. Wouldn’t you then want to ensure they are as balanced as possible? You can’t just turn a blind eye, throw your hands up and simply say, “I don’t think your asymmetries are important. Carry on!” If you do, you’ll land player after player on the disable list (just as the trainer’s MLB team did). He is only making his job harder by not addressing his players’ imbalances. That means more time in the training room for both parties involved and less time on the field for the player. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

What is your opinion? Would you only train one side for your particular activity? Do you think being bilateral is important? Let me hear your thoughts!