JLL’s Guide to Counteracting Muscle Imbalance
Your on a bench doing a chest press and notice that one side seems easier to lift despite being the same weight. Or maybe your carrying the shopping and you notice that one arm gets much more tired than the other without much difference in the weight of the bags. If this sounds familiar, chances are that you are experiencing an imbalance in certain muscles in your body. So, what is a muscle imbalance?
What is a muscle imbalance and what causes this?
The medical dictionary defines a muscular imbalance as, “a deviation in normal facilitation or inhibition of muscle resulting from a physical, mental, or chemical stressor and often leading to further related imbalances and joint dysfunctions that may take months or years to manifest”. Simply put it is the result of persistent overuse or underuse of a muscle in relation to the rest of the body. As a result, your body compensates for this, leading to a natural imbalance.
Muscle imbalances are quite common as a person’s day to day tasks may force one to favour one side of there body to the other or one muscle group to another. An example of this can be experiences whilst doing something as simple as sitting in an office chair all day. Or maybe you have a favourite exercise that you tend to do more frequently than others. Well this is another example of what can cause a muscle imbalance.
How to counteract?
So, we’ve had a look at what can cause a muscle imbalance and your thinking I think “I might have an imbalance in areas”. Well there are ways to counteract this and improve the balance of your muscles. Think of it this way, a lot of the muscles in your body come in pairs for example; left and right bicep, left and right pectorals and so on. If your right handed, it is likely that the muscles in your right arm are stronger than the ones in your left.
A good way to ensure that both sides are working equally is to mix compound exercises with isolated exercises. If when doing isolated exercises, you feel as though one of these muscle pairs are struggling, try to increase the reps that you do on the weaker side slightly. This allows the weaker side to get become more conditioned with the slightly extra work load while the compound exercises (Bench press, Squat, Pull up, Dead-lift) maintain the overall balance of the body.
An example of a workout that can be used to improve an imbalance (in this case where one arm is stronger than the other) can be seen below.
- Press ups x 10
- Body weight Squats x 10
- Burpees x 10
- 8-10 Barbell Curl x 3 sets
- 6 One Arm Dumbbell Curl (2 extra reps on weaker side) x 3 sets
- 8-10 Dumbbell Overhead Squat x 3 sets
- 6 One Arm Hammer Curl (2 extra reps on weaker side) x 3 sets
- 8 – 10 Barbell Skull Crusher x 3 sets
- 6 One Arm Triceps kick back (2extra reps on weaker side) x 3 sets
- 8 – 10 Triceps Dips x 3 sets