The opportunity to build and develop muscle has taken me to different places physically and mentally over the last few years.
There are literally two sides to this story…My left side and right side. Generally, many people will enter a gym aware of a dominant side perhaps. The machines and equipment are likely set up (more often than not) for a joint tandem lift from both sides of the body.
In my case, with cerebral palsy, I found myself on an interesting path, literally having one dominant side throughout my life, which presented a conundrum….if I lifted weights, would I get bigger on only one side?
More to the point, would it be safe & healthy to do so?
It was a great initial fear. That said, it became (as is often the case) a question of just having to find the answer by ‘doing’. If I hadn’t tried and faced that, how would I ever know? I concluded that “hey, my right side is far bigger now anyway, if I develop a little muscle on my left somehow, it would be an achievement so why worry” and go for it…and that’s how it started.
What I have found, in my own experience in lifting, is that the two sides will grow at the level that they have always done…My right is bigger than it was, and you can see improvements on my left but visibly still very much behind but not out of proportion of where I was before I started.
They will never be the same size, that’s my make up with my disability, however I have long documented the joy in discovering the ways around the equipment to compensate dexterity issues, with much more focus as the variables in movement through attachments rather than overthink my issues with my grip.
I think I’m more at peace with my body now too, whether that is personal or a societal change, I no longer want to hide my hand or be “ashamed” of having a smaller side….Bloody Hell this is my one and only body, I’ve grown to love it!
The gym has proven to be a test, a challenge, for both sides of my body and my mind. I’m delighted to have the daily chance to get onto a platform and prove a few things to myself overall and set myself up for another day on this incredible planet….