Ever looked in the mirror and thought that your right arm looks more toned than the other? Or... have you ever checked yourself out in the gym mirror (which always makes me feel way more jacked than I actually am, am I right?!) and been like oh snap, my left calf looks larger than the right!
Well, that just means you are a weirdo.
Muscle imbalances are actually very, VERY common.
I’ve personally noticed it in my shoulders and abs and I like to blame it on my scoliosis which, lucky me, makes the whole left side of my body much more stiff and crooked than my right. My left hip is technically higher than my right so often in squats, I can actually feel one side of my body working harder than the other. ALAS, there are ways to fix this and it’s something I’ve been working on nearly every gym sesh:
• Skip the machines, use the free weights.
When you use a machine, you are using both arms, legs, shoulders, etc. to control the single weight stack that you are moving. Naturally, one arm, leg, shoulder, etc. will work harder than the other on these machines resulting in a substantially higher effectiveness for one side of the body instead of both sides.
Use free weights and focus on working out one side of the body AND THEN the other. For example, lateral raises: do one arm at a time and focus on how the movement feels with every rep. Or, if you are in the squat rack or Smith machine, try doing lunges, one leg at a time instead of the standard squat.
***This is especially helpful for bad hips!***
• Focus on your form.
Doing each rep slowly and squeezing through the muscle group that you are targeting will help ensure you are doing the exercise correctly.
Doing any exercise fast and uncontrolled will hurt you more than help you.
If you have to reduce the amount of reps or sets so you can go slower and control movements better, than DO IT.
• If it hurts too badly, stop doing it.
No exercise should physically HURT you (aside from the muscle becoming exhausted, you shouldn’t be feeling joint pain or any other extreme pain).
For example, personally, I can only do sprints once a week (if that) because of a bad knee and hip combo. Don’t over-exert yourself or you’ll be out of the game longer than a single day.
The ideal body in the fitness world is all about symmetry.
If you are noticing that a certain side of your body is growing more than the other due to exercising, use the above tip to help you fix this!
I now leave you with an at-home shoulder and triceps workout. Give it a go. As always feel free to contact me with any questions and comments!
Warm-Up: 50 Jumping Jacks
Repeat Below Circuit 5-6 Times
1. 10x Triceps Dips (Use a chair for more advanced)
2. 12x Shoulder Push-Ups
3. 45 Secs of Low Plank (aka Chatarunga)
4. 10 x 90 Degree Pike Push-Ups (Use Wall or chair for feet)
5. 15 x Wall Triceps Push-Ups