How to Find and Fix Muscle Imbalances

Reading time: < 5 min

Let’s get real for a second.

One of the biggest reasons that people come to me saying “Marc Dressen, can you be my online personal trainer?” is that they’re looking for a proven way to make sure that their efforts at the gym help them to look great.

Women are usually looking for an amazing backside, toned abs, and a great upper body, while men are more in search of bulging biceps and washboard abs. However, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll often find that a great body is all about following the right instructions for diet and exercise.

Get your workout program and calories right, and you’ll lose fat and gain muscle every week. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up with the body of your dreams. In fact, you may even notice that one side of your body is larger than the other thanks to a “muscle imbalance”.

So, what can you do?

The good news is that fixing muscle imbalances is simpler than you think. You don’t need to invest in any specialist equipment or change up your training routine drastically. As you’ll discover in this article, all you need to do is adjust your results-driven training schedule slightly, and focus on watching how your body responds.

Let’s get to work.

What is a Muscle Imbalance, Anyway?

First, let’s take a look at what muscle imbalances actually mean. Ultimately, each of the muscles in your body has a twin. For instance, your right pec has the left pec, your right bicep has the left bicep, and so on. A muscle imbalance is what happens when one side is bigger than the other.

Sometimes, the results of muscle imbalance are obvious whenever you look in the mirror, and sometimes, you’ll only notice them when you’re in the middle of your training session and you find that it’s much harder to lift on one side than it is on the other.

Getting rid of muscle imbalances means making sure that your muscles are symmetrical on both sides of your body, while establishing the proportional development of the upper, lower, front, and back muscle groups.

The good news is that while a small portion of your results will depend exclusively on your genetics and what’s physically possible for your body, the rest will depend on your ability to follow a comprehensive workout program that focuses on regular training, and ensuring you don’t under or over-train any portion of your body.

How to Prevent Muscle Imbalance

Prevention is often much easier than cure.

The first step to preventing muscle imbalance is following a workout program that follows compound exercises and trains your full body evenly.

A lot of people find that they automatically favor one side of their body slightly more than the other for certain exercises. For instance, you might extend one arm slightly further during a bench press, or angle a foot out more during a squat. Over time, these small habits can lead to significant differences in strength and size.

Work with your online personal trainer to make sure that you eradicate any physiological imbalances that can creep into your routine. At the same time, you can look into implementing an effective mobility routine. After all, if your body isn’t flexible enough to perform exercises correctly, you’re going to need to compensate to get the job done, and this leads to serious imbalance.

How to Fix Muscle Imbalances

If one side of your body is already bigger than the other, then the solution is pretty clear: you’re going to need to spend more time training the weaker side of your body. Ultimately, the easiest way to do this is to increase the volume of reps on your weaker side.

Overcoming imbalances is all about training lagging muscle groups more intensely than you have done in the past. You can do this by increasing your weekly volume, pushing harder for progressive overload, and working with heavier weights.

Imagine your legs are too small in comparison to your upper body. You’ve followed a well-balanced routine, but you’re not getting the right results. If you don’t change your workout program, you’re going to face a serious imbalance.

The obvious solution is to train your legs harder, but this doesn’t always mean adding another leg work out on top of your existing routine. Doing this might be too much for your body to handle, which could lead to symptoms related to overtraining issues. Instead, you’ll need to dial the rest of your training down a notch to make more room for focusing on your legs.

In other words, you need a specialisation routine.

You can work with your personal trainer to make sure that you’re following a routine that addresses your muscle problems quickly and effectively, helping you to overcome imbalances without causing new problems to your muscle growth.

Finishing thoughts on Muscle Imbalances

If you’re going to be doing any type of resistance training, or strength training over a long period of time, then you’re probably going to find yourself running into muscular imbalances. This is something that impacts a lot of people, and you shouldn’t be too worried about it.

Meeting your training goals means overcoming a lot of different hurdles. Whether caused by exercise techniques, workout programming, or just your genetics, muscle imbalances can be a common problem. The good news is that if you focus on learning what you need to do to prevent muscular imbalance, and what you can do to fix the problem when asymmetry occurs, you won’t have to worry about getting the body of your dreams.

Try to work with your personal trainer to figure out what comes next at each stage of your training, and focus on whether any muscles are bigger, or stronger than their counterparts. Usually, the most effective way to fight back against asymmetric muscles is by making sure that your dominant side doesn’t end up with more exercise volume than your weaker one, and adding extra intensity to your muscle groups.

The more you focus on avoiding muscle imbalance, the less likely it is that you’ll need to adjust for specialisation workouts in the future.

Marc Dressen
Personal Trainer London

★ SC: marcdressen
★ IG:
★ FB:
★ TW:
★ G+:
★ YT:

Image Source: Flickr