Isn’t it frustrating when you put in all your extra time sweating out at the gym and training till you’re soaked in sweat only to end up with muscle imbalance? This was definitely not the reward that you had expected. Now once you’ve recognized your muscle imbalance, the next step is to address the issue and work on it.
Let’s explore the strategies which you could use to resolve the issue in a better way.
USE UNILATERAL EXERCISES
It is a universal fact that if one side of your body is stronger than the other side, it will always be dominant when both sides of the body are being trained together and in such a case your dominant side will work faster and get tired slower, causing your recessive side to be underutilized in comparison.
The solution is to avoid the exercise where both sides of the body are worked together for a unilateral exercise where both sides of the body are worked independently. This allows the body to work just as hard on both sides of the body without the dominant muscle taking over and reducing the work done by the weaker.
Good examples of shifts you can make are:
- Barbell bench press
- Barbell squats
- Barbell bicep curls
- Barbell shoulder press
WEAKER SIDE FIRST:
Due to humans being ambidextrous, it is natural that one side of our body will be more dominant than the other. When you start your unilateral exercises, the chances are you automatically work your stronger side first without thinking about it, which means when you are at your freshest; you tend to train your stronger side first when your weaker side would benefit much more from going first.
If you wish to fix or even prevent a muscle imbalance always train your weaker side first.
WEAKER SIDE FOR WORK VOLUME:
If you train your dominant side first when you’re at your freshest you’ll find that the weaker side struggles to keep up with the workload and ends up falling behind which only makes your imbalance worse.
If you start from your weaker side, you can let it regulate the amount of work your stronger side does which stops it from outworking the weaker side which will benefit you to retain muscle balance.
ADDITIONAL WORK FOR WEAKER SIDE:
It is common that imbalances get created when you focus more on pressing movements for the chest than you do pulling movements for the back. Or if you spend more time training your upper body than you do the lower, giving you that top-heavy look.
Try and bring up lagging body parts through one of the two methods:
Increase Overall Volume: Add in extra work out for the body part that gives you trouble due to which the reduced training on the other body parts will be enough to maintain your current physique in those areas whilst giving you the space you need to increase your training volume for your troubled area.
Increase Training Load: Increase the training load you use when working the ‘trouble’ body part. You’ll notice that both methods are heavily intertwined and by doing one you’ll most likely end up doing aspects of the other.
FIX THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM:
Whilst one of the above strategies will usually fix any muscle imbalance you have it’s also worth exploring the underlying cause. Once you’ve identified the area that is causing an issue, you can work on improving your flexibility and mobility in that area which will also help to ensure the imbalance doesn’t come back after you’ve fixed it.