As Martial Artists we should be just as strong and flexible on both sides but it’s natural to favour your most flexible and strongest side which causes imbalances. This can lead to pain and injuries.
Asymmetry of strength and flexibility are THE main causes of the most common physical problems developed an asymmetry by simple repetition of the patterns we use. We MUST strengthen the weakest spots while releasing tension in his tightest area. We also must remember that pain isn’t necessarily caused by anything physically wrong, and dysfunction doesn’t necessarily lead to pain.
The body’s load is transferred to varying degrees through bone, joints, tendon, ligament, muscle & fascia. The language of the body is sensation, and that type of information would be stored in our nervous system. The results of loading are in the different types of adaptation that occur at different rates depending on the tissue in question. Which connective tissue can thicken, develop more stiffness for better load transfer or ‘creep’ for elongation. Your nervous system doesn’t perfectly / accurately relay and interpret sensations in a consistent relationship with what is physically happening. It does however modulate information going from your brain, and coming towards your brain. There is a lot of major research and successful interventions that are based around how ‘structure’ doesn’t matter as much as we previously thought.
Working on your asymmetry (both in strength and flexibility) will make an immense difference to the way you feel and function but stretching alone or strengthening alone will not fix the issue with your body, we must strengthen the weakest spots while also releasing tension in the tightest areas. Strengthening is the same as with stretching, we would want to stretch the tightest spot/side to adapt to the more mobile side and then stretch them both to increase our overall range of motion, whilst with strengthening you want to go after your weakest spot/side to adapt to the more strong side and then strengthen them both to increase your overall strength. This combination of both will lead you to amazing active flexibility or full range strength, which I would consider as “true” strength. Also IF your strength is compromised at all by unilateral training of one side then you’d need to fix that by the same or similar unilateral training of the other side too.