Muscle Symmetry - Build a Balanced Body with Muscle and Strength
imbalances can be the cause of great pains but you can in some cases
also see these imbalances in the muscles visually. A huge percentage
of soreness complaints can be attributed to imbalanced muscle size
and strength as the culprit. These are usually not as easily seen
by the untrained eyes.
A sure fire way to avoid muscle imbalances (strength as well) is
to break down your exercises so that you include single limb training.
Machines are great and I love barbells but in order to avoid breeding
lopsided physique or stresses to the body structure you want to
make sure the training is balanced and both sides work for themselves.
Many times barbell training is favored because you can lift more
by having the strong side compensate for the weaker. I have no issues
with use barbell work or machine work to get to higher weights but
you need to then progress that weight to single limb work with dumbbells
and machines which are broken down into left and right separate
Not only does this represent TRUE strength, it will help you avoid
dominant muscle groups which eventually become the cause of neck,
back, hip, knee or other joint issues.
Incorporate a week each month at least, for balance so you can
still work your split how you please but change exercise choices
toward dumbbell training. Luckily dumbbell training is widely used
but without thought to this structure.
Opt for dumbbell chest press, shoulder presses, mid back rows,
dumbbell curls, kickbacks, or you can use one arm on the chest press
machine with a lighter weight, then do the other arm. This opens
up more options and gives you the chance to maximize your balancing
More great choices where you can single out your exercises
Leg Press, leg Extensions, hamstring curls, calve raises, inner
thigh, outer thigh, shoulder presses, pec dec, middle back row,
bicep curls, tricep pushdowns and rotator cuffs. This will increase
your awareness of the imbalances that exist when you feel them for
yourself comparatively from left to right in strength and function.
Many times when we do notice imbalances we are working or doing
something we cannot stop so we compensate and continue the best
we can to complete the task regardless of the damages caused by
working in this state.
Some of the most common imbalances among us are hamstrings, shoulders,
chest and arms. This can happen to those who do it from repetitive
jobs using the same side for the job each time. Sometimes it is
impossible to switch sides in a persons work so they end up
having to focus most of their gym time on correcting these overuse
Conditioning with stretches daily helps to iron out imbalances
which occur from tighter muscles. You want to train your muscles
when warm so 5-10 mins of cardio is a great way to loosen for stretch.
Stretch them to prepare them for the work and they will work in
better unison with this short pre weight training ritual helping
fight the imbalance battle.