Why Do I Have Asymmetrical Abdominal Development?

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question-icon-newI have an issue with my abdominals. I have been training for about 3 years and I work my abs 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). My typical ab workout consists of 2-3 different exercises and I do about 30-40 reps per set (total of 6-8 sets per workout). The problem I’m having is that my top right abdominal is a lot smaller in size than my top left abdominal. Also, the lines of my abs don’t really match up. Is there a way to fix this?

answer-icon-newFor your issue with one abdominal being larger than the other, this most likely comes down to two possibilities. The first is that when you do your abdominal workout, you might be favoring the left side when you perform the concentric portion of the movement (crunching up). For future ab workouts, try to be very aware of this and do your best to stay in balance with your upper body as you crunch up and place tension on your abs. When doing basic crunches or other abdominal exercises, you should be crunching straight forward and not to one side or the other. The only time you will be favoring one side is when you’re specifically training your obliques (love handles) and you are doing side to side crunches and other movements where you twist your upper body to place more tension on your oblique muscles.

abdominal-developmentThe other possibility is that you are favoring your left side when at rest and while sitting. If you tend to lean to your left when you sit, this places a lot of tension on the left side of your abs and over time it can produce an issue with one side being more developed than the other. It’s all about balance, so try to be conscious of this going forward and always try to maintain proper posture which is very important not only for your abdominal development but also for your spine, neck and back.

The way to fix this is to place more tension on your weaker side by doing the exact opposite of what you naturally do now. For the next 2-3 months, try to really focus on doing several more reps on your weaker side (right abdominal) and really crunch up and place a lot of tension on the weaker muscle in order to bring it up to par with the other side. Be sure to monitor your stomach over the next few months and once your abs are symmetrically even, you can start back to a fully balanced motion on your ab exercises.

In terms of the lines of your abs not being even, this is most likely due to genetics. Everyone’s muscle symmetry is different and if you look at contest photos of top pro bodybuilders, you will see the different muscle shapes from person to person. Some people have a full 8 pack of abdominals where most other people just have the six muscles of the abs showing (6-pack abs). Everyone has 8 separate abdominal muscles, it’s just a matter of getting lean enough to showcase the very bottom 2 abs which is very difficult to display unless you are truly ripped with an extremely low level of body fat.

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1 Comment

  1. Your posture is probably asymmetrical. If you put more weight on one leg than the other, this puts a curve in your lower spine. This curve, however slight, will be your issue. To test your posture, stand upright in a comfortable and normal stance. Get someone to measure the height of each shoulder with respect to the other. If one is higher than the other then you have a curve in your lower spine from leaning on one side in your normal stance. This can be caused by flat feet as well, where one foot is flatter than the other causing you to subconsciously apply more weight to the leg with a flatter foot. Anyway, the reason this gets your spine out of alignment is because over the years of you leaning on one side more than the other, the muscles and tissues on the side you’ve leaned on become tighter in your leg and all the way up your core, curving your lower spine and pulling down one shoulder in the process. When you workout the side with the tighter muscles takes the brunt of the work and causes asymmetry. To fix this you need to balance out your muscle flexibility and routinely stretch the tighter side. It will not be easy and you will probably never achieve full symmetry but you can definitely reduce the asymmetry.

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