Are your muscle imbalances messing with more than just your workouts, at this point may be messing with your head? No worries, in this article, I’m going to show you some exercises that can help you to fix muscle imbalance.
If one side or part of your body is bigger or stronger than the other then you have a muscle imbalance.
The reason for a muscular imbalance can be different. It can happen because you have injured yourself and aren’t able to use the injured side for a while.
Another reason is that you might have mobility and flexibility problems. And it’s also pretty common that you simply use one side of your body more than the other.
Many people aren’t focused on the movement itself while they train, they let their mind wander when they go through the motions instead of focusing on the body. This results in one side of the body, usually, the stronger one is doing more work than the other.
Before we show you how to fix muscle imbalance here is a quick checklist to spot them.
- One side has more muscles than the other (uneven muscles).
- One side is stronger than the other (uneven strength).
- Your movements are uneven like one arm flares out, you twist and rotate your body to one side, etc.
If one side or part of your body is already stronger you can guarantee that it will always be dominant when both sides of the body are trained together.
Unilateral Training to fix muscle imbalance
The solution is to replace the bilateral exercises where both sides of the bodywork together with unilateral exercises where both sides of the bodywork independently or at least one side has to do more work than the other.
This allows the body to work just as hard on both sides of the body without the dominant side taken over and reducing the work done by the weaker side.
The unilateral movements can be done with additional weights or with your body weight alone.
When it comes to the bodyweight exercise you can work with all kinds of archer movements, like Archer squats, Archer pull-ups, or Archer push-ups.
Lunges are also great for that because you switch the leg position in every rep.
These exercises are not completely unilateral because one side still supports the movement. But you will immediately feel if one side is stronger than the other because the bent arm or leg is the main worker and the straight arm or leg is only there to support the movement.
You should still prefer real unilateral movements like one-arm body rows, one-arm push-ups, one-arm planks, pistol squats, and others because here you really work with one side without the support from the other.
When it comes to weight training you can switch from Barbell to dumbbell exercises. When you work with the dumbbell you can move both sides independently. There is no direct connection between one side and the other and this guarantees that you will work on both sides equally.
It’s still possible to do it wrong if you twist or rotate your body like we mentioned it before.
As you might know, we are big fans of ring training because rings are not fixed and can move independently but rings can have one disadvantage over dumbbells when it comes to working on your weaker side.
Rings can move to the front and to the side but not up and down because the Rings are fixed on a bar or something like that.
Dumbbells on the other hand can move completely independent in all directions.
Rings are still great to spot and work on imbalances but dumbbells are more effective when it comes to this certain point. You might also use a sling system with a snatch block that is not fixed vertically and allows you to move in all three dimensions.
Another example is a non-fixed lat pulldown bar because you would lose balance immediately if one side pulls stronger than the other.
When you do unilateral exercises finish your set when your weak side fails and don’t do more reps with your stronger side even if you are capable of it.
Focus on the weaker side to fix muscle imbalance
This is quite simple, just focus on the weaker side and try to even out your movements. What really helps is filming yourself or a partner who tells you the right position.
If you film yourself you will see your imbalances and you can correct them right in the next set, if you are used to the uneven movement the correction will feel kind of wrong, not only in terms of strength and muscle growth but also to get a right feeling for it.
Having a partner that can spot uneven movements has the benefit that you can correct the execution right away. You also get instant feedback if you correct it right or even too much.
What can also help you is to start every set with the weaker side. Do it in a way that allows your weaker side to determine when to stop your sets not just the stronger ones. Of course this only works on unilateral movements.
More volume for the weaker side
If you have trouble fixing your imbalances even if you focus on your weaker side and use unilateral exercises you could increase the number of sets for the weaker side.
For example, instead of five sets of one arm body row for each side do four sets on the stronger and six sets on the weaker side. You can also do more reps on your weaker side or you can even combine more reps and more sets.
In general, we suggest you increase the total volume by twenty-five to thirty percent for the weaker side. If your body isn’t flexible and functional enough to perform an exercise correctly it’s going to have to compensate something to get the job done and this can cause muscle imbalances.
Once you’ve identified the problem area you can work on improving flexibility and mobility in that area which will help to ensure the imbalance doesn’t come back after you fixed it.
If you have further questions on how to fix muscle imbalance just leave a comment. Thanks. Happy Exercising!