Muscle strength and size imbalance is a common problem for many people. You may be able to lift more weight with one arm than the other, or your back muscles may be uneven. And while it may not be such a big problem in the long run, it’s important to know what causes it and how to fix it.
So here are the top 5 causes of muscle imbalance and some advice on how you can modify your workouts to improve.
Problem: Muscle imbalance on one side of your body can impair the overall performance of an exercise. For example, bicep curls with a weaker hand can impair your ability to lift heavier if one of your hands cannot lift it. That makes your joints adjust and this compensation does not exactly help your form and overall muscle stimulation.
Solution: Use dumbbells instead, so that each arm muscles can work independently.
Problem: Being able to better control one side of your body is natural because if you’re right handed, you’re used to doing more work with this hand. Your brain is able to more readily control the muscle movements of your right hand. That’s especially evident with big weights. Indeed, you’ll find that isolation exercises, such as the isolation bicep curl is more easier to do with your right hand than it is with the left (or vice versa).
Solution: Do more single arm exercises for your weaker side. Do sets going beyond the comfortable amount of reps, so that your working sets get more efficient.
Problem: Your blood circulation may be different to different muscles. That impacts the amount of intensity your muscles can carry and their endurance.
Solution: Do more high rep sets on your week side to improve blood circulation and capillary density.
Problem: Your body make up depends on genetics and there’s not much you can do about it. Perhaps you have a skinny build or shorter limbs, imbalances will happen due to these differences.
Solution: While you can’t choose your genetics, you can take the full advantage of what you have by focusing on your strengths.
Problem: Bad posture can be a major culprit in muscle imbalances and it can get easily overlooked. You may spend hours at a desk in your work, or you’re used to slouching on the couch in not exactly a healthy posture. This can cause muscles to adapt as fast as in a few days and it will affect your workouts.
Solution: Rather than compensating with weights or training techniques, be sure to correct your posture during every exercise. Always train in front of a mirror and watch for irregularities. Maybe one of your shoulders is slightly lower than the other and that makes you lift a barbell at an angle, or do squats by compensating with one knee. These small, usually hard to notice imbalances make some of your muscles work harder and get stronger over time. But most importantly, some muscles get weaker because of this. So be sure to correct your posture during your exercises.