I’ve been lifting weights three days a week for about 4 months and I’ve had great results so far. However, the left side of my body seems to be developing more than my right side. The weird thing is that I’m right-handed and I would have imagined that my dominant side would be the one that would become larger. It’s really strange because my left chest, biceps and triceps are more developed and defined than the right side. What can I do to make my body more symmetrical?
A very interesting phenomenon occurs when a person decides to start a diet and exercise program to improve their overall health and wellness along with making changing in their physique. Because they are now much more focused on working towards a physical goal, such as losing body fat and gaining muscle, they start becoming very conscious of the way they look. This starts with glancing in mirror a few times a day just to see if there are any noticeable changes in the size of their muscles or a reduction of fat around their stomach. In certain individuals, this can lead to a body obsession disorder where they excessively worry about their physique on an hourly basis by staring in the mirror with the ultimate goal of physical perfection which can never be achieved.
The strange thing that happens when you begin to become aware of your physicality and the way your body looks on a daily basis, you can easily start to nitpick and find every single flaw. You might start focusing on the size or definition of your arms, chest or legs and become super critical about every aspect of the way they look. Are they too small, too fat, too soft and not ripped enough? Or, maybe you just don’t like the overall shape and symmetry of the specific body part you’re critiquing and this drives you crazy because you’re not making the progress that you truly want.
The reason I bring up this topic of image obsession is because you might just be so critical about your physique that any tiny difference that you “think” you see, creates frustration. In reality, it might just be that your mind is playing tricks on you and your body is body symmetry is totally fine but since you are so focused with looking at yourself every single day in the mirror, you have lost the ability to really see yourself. This might sound like a weird concept to you but it’s a very real thing that happens to many people in the fitness and bodybuilding world.
The first thing I recommend for you is to ask several of your close friends and family to look at your physique and ask them if they actually see any noticeable difference in the size of your left side versus the right side of your body. Your friends and family are a great source of people to help you since they will be candid enough to really let you know their true feelings. These are the people who are going to give it to you straight and let you really know if there is something wrong. If they indeed confirm that there is a symmetry issue with your body and certain muscle groups are unevenly developed, then you will want to move onto other solutions which I will cover below.
If you feel embarrassed about asking your friends and family members to analyze your physique, then you have another option that should help you. I actually highly recommend doing this and it is to measure yourself to get the basic numbers of how large each body part is. Take baseline circumference measurements of your calves, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, arms and shoulders. Use a tape measure for this and make sure to record the measurements in your workout journal.
Try to find a program where you can track all of these physique measurements on a weekly and monthly basis. Measuring each body part individually will finally show you in clear-cut numbers if you actually have some noticeable size differences between your biceps, triceps and your chest muscles. If after measuring, everything adds up evenly then you know your mind is playing tricks on you and it’s probably best to take some time away from staring at the mirror for hours on end staring at yourself! Try to relax and be happy with the improvements you have made in your physique from all of your hard work and discipline.
However, if the measurements actually show that you have imbalances in the size of your muscle groups and your friends and family are calling you a freak of nature, then there are a few things you can do to help correct this. The first is to train with single limb movements which means you will only be performing an exercise using one hand or one leg at a time. The easiest way to do this is to use dumbbells instead of barbells so you can lift one arm at a time and place a certain amount of tension on the muscle group. In your case, you will want to use heavier weight with more reps and additional sets on your right side when training your biceps, triceps and chest exercises.
For example, if you are doing a biceps workout then you will do dumbbell curls and grab a heavier weight for your right bicep and do a few additional sets to try to build up the muscle to become even with your left side. For triceps, a great exercise to use is cable pushdowns with one hand. For your chest, the best option is to use machines like Hammer Strength where each arm works independently which allows you to press using either your right or left pectorals. This is great because you can do a few extra reps and sets with just your right arm to provide extra stimulation to your right pec and help it grow larger to become even with your left. If you really have a noticeable difference in the size and symmetry of different muscle groups, then training with single limb exercises will be your best bet to help resolve any muscular imbalances.