Cross Education & Bilateral Symmetry

There is one really great advantage available on the RowPerfect Indoor Sculler which is not easily practiced in a boat: One Legged Rowing.  The side bearings of the Rowperfect allow the user to row easily using one leg at a time. 

Obviously, that’s a great advantage if one leg is injured but is it that important for those of us who have two functioning legs? The answer is YES – and there is a hidden benefit for those with an injured leg too.

Imagine that if by using 1 leg or arm – or say one half of your body – you could be helping to rehabilitate an injury on the other side? It sounds too good to be true but it’s not.

It’s a phenomenon called Cross Education, whereby the nerves being used on the one side result in nerve impulses being sent to the other.  So if you have a broken leg, recovering knee injury or muscle damage in one leg, or arm, or eve one whole side of your body – you can row one-legged and be actively aiding the rehabilitation of your injury.

Nearly all of us have one arm we use a little more – we refer to ourselves as Right or Left handed.  We are more dexterous and capable using that arm and it is usually stronger.  We rarely recognise that we also have one leg that we use preferentially, and it’s a bit stronger too.  Over time the subconscious preference creates imbalance, which in turn may lead to all sorts of postural problems including back problems.

However: take a few strokes one-legged on the Rowperfect Indoor Sculler and you will not only identify that imbalance, but may be well on the way to improving and eliminating it.  Bilateral Symmetry (or Bilateral Asymmetry) is a factor in many injuries and degenerative conditions.

one-legged rowing

There are other benefit of rowing with one leg: It really maximises the utilisation of the gluteal muscles.  It’s no exaggeration to say the ‘glutes’ are the basis of power production in a host of sports not just rowing.  Training using one leg at a time on the Rowperfect Indoor Sculler can greatly enhance the development of good gluteal muscles.

Secondly, we hear so much now about the importance of strong core muscles – for good reason.  They are really important for posture, general strength, protection against back injuries and so on.  It only takes a moment’s reflection to realise that if you are pulling on the handle with both hands, while pushing with one foot – your core utilisation must be excellent.

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