How to Correct Muscle Imbalance?
If you've ever experienced the frustration of giving your whole hearted devotion in the gym and still find yourself with muscle imbalances, then you're not alone. It is normal to feel demotivated when you have put so much efforts and still find yourself without any progress. But fear not because we're here to help you address and correct muscle imbalances. So here are few practical strategies that you can apply in your training routine and fetch out desired results.
Incorporate Unilateral Exercises
When both sides of your body are trained together, it's common for the stronger side to dominate the movement and because of this dominancy muscle imbalance happens as one side is working more in comparison to the other side. To overcome this, we recommend switching out bilateral exercises, where both sides are worked simultaneously, for unilateral exercises that target each side independently.
For example, rather than barbell bench press, prioritize performing dumbbell bench press. By using dumbbells, you allow both sides of your body to work equally without the dominant side taking over. This promotes balanced muscle development and helps correct any imbalances.
Begin with the Weaker Side
It's natural for one side of your body to be stronger or more dominant than the other. Most of us have a favored side that we subconsciously rely on during exercises. When performing unilateral exercises, you may unknowingly start with your stronger side, leaving the weaker side at a disadvantage.
To address and prevent muscle imbalances, it's crucial to always train your weaker side first. By doing so, you ensure that it receives equal attention and workload, promoting balanced strength development.
Let the Weaker Side Determine Your Workout Volume
Building upon the previous point, when you begin with your stronger side during unilateral exercises, it can lead to an imbalance in workload. To prevent this, let your weaker side set the pace for your workout volume.
For example, if you're aiming for three sets of eight reps on lunges and your weaker side can only manage eight, six, and five reps, don't push your stronger side to do more. Stick to the same workload for both sides, even if you're capable of doing more with your dominant side. This approach ensures that you're addressing the weaker side's needs and promoting balance in your training.
Incorporate Additional Work for the Weaker/Smaller Side
Muscle imbalances often occur due to an uneven focus on certain body parts. For instance, if you emphasize pressing movements for your chest but neglect pulling movements for your back, imbalances can arise. Similarly, if you prioritize upper-body training over lower-body training, you may end up with a top-heavy physique.
To rectify proportional imbalances, there are two approaches you can take:
- Increase Overall Volume: Add an extra workout specifically targeting the lagging body part. Alternatively, if you're already training five times a week and can't squeeze in another session, reduce the volume of other body parts to accommodate additional training for the weaker area. This redistribution of training volume helps bring balance to your physique.
- Increase Training Load: Another method involves increasing the intensity or load used when working the out-of-proportion body part. This could mean applying progressive overload by lifting heavier weights, reducing rest times, or increasing reps and sets. The goal is to enhance the work capacity of the imbalanced area and bring it in line with the rest of your physique.
Also read - Optimal Training Volume for Muscle Growth ?
Address the Underlying Problem
While the strategies mentioned above are effective for correcting muscle imbalances, it's important to consider the underlying causes as well. If you have poor technique, it's crucial to identify the root of the problem. Are you lacking focus during exercises? Did you learn the technique incorrectly? Is limited mobility or flexibility hindering your movements?
For example, if you notice that your squat form is consistently lopsided, with one knee caving inwards, it's essential to address the underlying issue. Take the time to assess your technique and identify any weaknesses or limitations that may be contributing to the muscle imbalance.
Incorporating corrective exercises and mobility work specific to the problem area can help address these underlying issues. For instance, performing exercises to strengthen the glute medius and improve hip stability can help correct knee valgus (inward collapse) during squats.
Additionally, seeking guidance from a qualified fitness professional or physical therapist can provide valuable insights and personalized recommendations to address your specific muscle imbalances. They can assess your movement patterns, identify weaknesses, and prescribe specific exercises and corrective strategies to help you correct muscle imbalances effectively.
It takes time for your body to adapt and rebalance. By implementing these strategies and staying dedicated to your training, you'll be on your way to achieving a more symmetrical and functional physique.If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!