The Cross-Over Effect: Are You Injured? No Need To Rest!
Also called Cross-Education Effect. I did not learn about this in my Exercise Physiology classes in college, I learned about it later, after I had a horrible accident that changed my life and changed the way I thought.
The Cross-Over Effect is basically where training one side of the body results in increased strength on the OPPOSITE SIDE.
Studies show that Cross-Over Effect training can result in an AMAZING 18-29% gain in strength of the opposite side!
This is exactly what I did in 2004 where I lost the use of my left arm totally. I was trapped under my car after a roll-over accident that left my arm severely damaged. I was actually told I may want to look for another job. NOT SO FAST! A trainer without the use of an appendage? Hmmmm… ok so I began training my right side like crazy.
Being told my nerves would take years to grow back and may never be “normal” again made me try harder! I had heard about the Cross-Over phenomenon so I began my research and my work. I did get the use of my left arm and hand back in a lot less time than they had told me. Thank God! Unilateral Training and the Cross-Over Effect at work? I think so! With perseverance and the amazing ability of our body’s ability to heal.
Thanks to the incredible Doctors that put me back together with skin grafts of course, they were amazing, but I am stubborn 🙂 I am also one that believes in exercising for rehabilitation. I was never going to stop trying.
My client above has a right shoulder injury so we are training her left side and performing therapy exercises currently for her right side, until we can use her right side without pain. This type of training has worked well for me and my clients for many years.
Other uses for the Cross-Over Effect may include a broken leg, arthritis in one knee or shoulder surgery on one side.
I have had many clients that are used to bench pressing with a bar and have a shoulder injury on one side. I switch them to dumbbells. They use 100 percent of the weight they can press on the uninjured side and whatever weight they can on the injured side. It works great! They usually stick with the dumbbells after that 🙂
So, be smart when you have an injury but don’t stop training AND don’t neglect the uninjured side. Take advantage of the Cross-Over Effect and unilateral training. It works!