A problem that almost every trainee encounters is the muscle imbalance. I’ve said it before, but muscle imbalances can cause a lot of pain and injuries.
More often than not, depending on our lifestyle, job and daily activities, one side of our body, becomes stronger than the other. I bet that most of you, who use mainly their right hand, find out that their left hand is a lot weaker. The same is true for your legs.
For this kind of imbalance, a big contributor could be the sport you play. For example, when I used to play basketball, my left leg was a lot stronger than my right leg, because I used to drive through the right side of the court and respectively I jumped mainly off my left foot.
You are probably wondering how that even matters. Who cares that one of my arms or legs are stronger than the other one… The problem comes from the fact that in your body each muscle has a particular function. When a given muscle is weaker and doesn’t function properly, the body in the role of a smart machine, compensates by building a different mechanical path of movement, thus forcing the stronger muscles to work more, compared to the weak once.
This leads to a bad posture, pain, tight muscles and injuries. Usually the stronger muscles, work more, so they could compensate the inactivity of weak muscles, and so they become tighter, which really causes a lot of pain. Respectively the weak muscles, loosen more.
Fortunately this could be changed, if you structure your workouts properly:
1.Find out where you have a muscle imbalance. Which arm or leg is dropping behind.
You could do this really easy, by taking a weight, that would allow you to do between 6-10 reps- to failure. Pick an unilateral movement( an exercise performed on one leg, or with one arm). Do one set with let’s say your left hand. If you managed to do 7 reps with 50 pounds, then you repeat the set with your right hand. If you could do more reps, for example 9, this means that this hand is stronger. You should write down the results from your mini testing, then follow the steps I will write down in a minute. Thus, in a month you will have a base for comparison and you will repeat the test again, with the same weight. If the reps with your weaker hand are increasing, respectively getting even with your stronger hand, this means you are moving in the right direction.
2.Always start with your weaker arm/leg
The mistake most people do is that they always rush into doing the set with their stronger arm/leg and then they look at me with pity, saying “Oh, no! Now I have to do it with my weaker hand.”
What happens is that you are just increasing the imbalance. The leading arm in this case, should be the weaker one. You should start with it, and let’s say you do 5 reps with 50pounds. Then you do 5 reps with 50pounds with your stronger arm, even if you could do on or two more reps! Thus you will give an opportunity to your weaker arm, to gain on the stronger one!
3.Do one more set with your weaker arm/ leg
This is another rule that you should follow. If you do 3 sets for the stronger one, do 4 sets for the weaker one. Thus you will add more volume to the workout with your weak hand and you will once again give it a chance to gain on the stronger one.
Another mistake that you should NEVER do, is do the sets with your weaker arm/leg, using lighter weights, so you could hit the rep count, and then take a heavier weight for the set with the stronger arm/leg. I’ve noticed that people make this mistake way too often, and it is completely wrong!
In order to remove the imbalance between your legs and arms, you should use unilateral movements( such performed with one leg or arm), because when you do bilateral movements( when you have both your arms or legs for support), the dominating leg or arm will always do more work, than the other one, and you will be just increasing the imbalance. And with unilateral movements, the whole effort is on the working arm/leg.
I recommend you read these articles:
Do you work on removing your muscle imbalances? What training method is working the best for you?
P.S. If you liked this post, please share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it!
Don’t forget to join my Facebook page!