How to Fix Muscle Imbalances
People train for a multitude of reasons. Some people train to improve their athletic performance for sports while some people mainly train with the goal of looking good. Both are equally valid reasons. One thing that plagues all peoples training is dealing with muscular imbalances. How can we prevent this and in the case that we have them, how can we fix them?
When it comes to preventing muscle imbalances, one must take a close look at how they're training. People tend to always favor one side of their body. This can mean having one arm extend a bit further on the bench press or having a foot a bit wider in stance on the deadlift. Over time, by consistently doing this, one side of the body tends to get bigger and stronger than the other side which in some cases can cause injury. So, how can you prevent this from happening. Firstly, one should base their workout program on compound movements that build muscle in more than one area. This is more so to prevent muscular disproportion which is when for example, your quads overpower your glutes or your triceps are too strong compared to your chest. The second thing to implement is unilateral exercises which are exercises that independently work both sides of your body. This means that each side of your body has to lift the same amount of weight which doesn't allow for your stronger side to take over like in bilateral exercises. Lastly, implementing mobility work before you begin your workout can help prevent muscle imbalances as this can help reduce tightness in your muscles which allows for them to be used to their full range of motion.
Let's say that, you've done all of this and you still end up having some muscle imbalances. Their are two things that I reccomend to people to help fix muscle imbalances. Firstly, one can increase the amount of volume done on the weaker side of their body. For example, if someone's right shoulder muscle is stronger and bigger than their left, they should do an additional set or two of dumbbell shoulder press with their left side. This additional volume should help the lagging side catch up. This works with any muscle. The second recommendation/ method is equalizing the volume you do on both sides. So, basically if you can only do 8 reps of an exercise with your weaker side, but 10 reps on the stronger side. Only do 8 reps with the strong side too, so that the weak side eventually catches up.
In conclusion, there are various things one can do to prevent a muscle imbalance from occurring and there are also ways to help fix already existing muscle imbalances. So, do not fear, there is hope for your imbalances one rep at a time.