I grew up left-handed, and given the fact that only 10% of the world population is left-handed, I felt particularly unique. And since five out of the last seven American Presidents have been left-handed, I felt I was in good company! However, what I've come to learn later in life is that having a strong dominant side also has some downsides.

Davis's Law

Henry Gassett Davis, an American orthopedic surgeon, wrote in his 1867 book Conservative Surgery "Ligaments, or any soft tissue, when put under even a moderate degree of tension, if that tension is unremitting, will elongate by the addition of new material; on the contrary, when ligaments, or rather soft tissues, remain uninterruptedly in a loose or lax state, they will gradually shorten."

With every posture, exercise, and movement, new layers of collagen are laid down in our bodies. Over time, the collagen hardens and the results are cemented postures and positions.

Therefore, performing movements—either in fitness or simple daily activities—with one dominant side has its negative implications because soft tissue and ligaments will be directly affected.

Top Causes of Injury and Pain

Renowned physical therapist Gray Cook often reminds us that the two biggest precursors of injury are asymmetries and previous injury. This is why the Functional Movement Screen looks at asymmetries so closely. If you think about this logically, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately getting injured increases the likelihood of getting injured again, whether it is the same area or somewhere completely different on the body. However, as we have learned through people like Thomas Myers with his Anatomy Trains, our entire body is connected. The same can be said for asymmetries. If your right shoulder is stronger than your left shoulder; if your left side of your hip is tighter than the right side, then compensatory patterns will occur.

Train Your Brain

Exercises targeting the non-dominant side do more than retrain that side— they also retrain the brain. Forcing the non-dominant hand to perform an unfamiliar task requires the brain to map new neural pathways. These new pathways rejuvenate the non-dominant hemisphere controlling the hand and rejuvenate the brain, thus stimulating the brain's cognitive and creative functions. (Read more on Non-Dominant Side Training to Become Twice the Athlete).

Odell Beckham Jr.

A great example of someone who has taken non-dominant side training to extraordinary heights is professional American football player for the New York Giants, Odell Beckham. With only two years in the NFL, Beckham, a right-hander, has already become one of its most high-profile players.

He vowed to increase his coordination and overall ability by doing as many things left-handed as possible. Here's a list of some of the things he does with his non-dominant side:

• Swings a baseball bat lefty

• Shoots a basketball with his left hand (He has been quoted to say, "My left-handed shot now looks better than my right.")

• Kicks balls with his left foot

• Throws a football lefty in warm-ups

• Brushes his teeth three times a day with his left hand.

Beckham reports "increased feel" in both of his hands and feels comfortable running with a ball in his left hand.

Get Started Today

There are many tools, devices, and exercises that can be performed to maximize the dominant/non-dominant way of training. The RMT Club is certainly one of those devices. The easy-to-grip handle allows you to perform multi-directional movements with each side getting a chance to lead the move. You can also grip the club unilaterally to really isolate each side. The shifting weight inside the club gives you an auditory cue. What sound does the club make with the right hand vs. the left hand?

Outside of making sure you train your non-dominant side in the gym, the following are some examples of practice that you can incorporate in your daily routines by using your non-dominant side:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth
  • Pouring a drink
  • Putting on pants/shorts
  • Using food utensils.

These seem like very simple tasks, but give them a try and see how it feels.

I want to make it clear that I am not declaring that we should all become as ambidextrous as possible. What I am saying is that you should strive for as much balance and symmetry as possible—not only for the betterment of your body, but for your brain and your overall quality of life.

About the Author: Giovanni, a graduate of Michol Dalcourt's Institute of Motion Level 1 & 2 mentorships, is currently a Tier 4 Coach for Equinox's private training facility “E" in Greenwich, Connecticut. Additionally, he is a master instructor for ViPR and Kettlebell Athletics. Giovanni is a part of Nike's exclusive trainer network where he is involved in exciting, upcoming projects for the fitness powerhouse. In January 2015, he was selected as one of 14 trainers from around the world by renowned fitness website PTontheNet to be an official global ambassador for the company. You can learn more about Giovanni at www.GiovanniRoselli.com or follow him on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli

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