2 Sure-fire Ways To Fix Your Muscle Imbalance

At Viking Strength Systems, we do a lot of unilateral exercises, and because of that we get this question a lot:

“My one arm/leg is stronger than the other. What do I do?”

Fear not young Viking, as nobody is perfectly symmetrical.

Today we are going to share 2 strategies to bring both sides closer to the same level of strength and fix your muscle imbalances once and for all.

Here are the two strategies for correcting your muscle imbalance:

 1. Do the weak side first


Most people naturally use their dominant (stronger) side first when doing an exercise, and this means when it comes time to do the other side they have the addition of fatigue on top of that side being weaker.

By doing the weaker arm first you do it when you are fresh, and the likelihood of being able to squeeze out a couple more reps is much higher.


2. Do the strong side first and match the reps with the weaker side in multiple sets.


I have to give credit where credit is due – and I believe I got this from Ben Bruno a couple years ago.

You use the strong side first to set the ‘baseline’ number of reps and weight, and then you do the weaker side and match it in 2 sets (maybe 3 if absolutely necessary).

Say you want to get 10 reps. You get 7 on the first set before technique starts to break down, stop there. Give it about 10-15s rest, take a couple breaths, and then bang out the last 3. This is also called a “rest-pause” set.


Which is right for you?


My go-to strategy is to do #1, the weaker side first, as this makes sure technique doesn’t break down, and it’s what I recommend 90% of the time to my athletes and clients.

For more advanced individuals the second method works really well too. I really like this strategy as it doesn’t limit the stronger arm, but the drawback is you know that a couple reps, likely the last of each of the rest-pause sets (i.e. last 3 reps from the above example), are going to suffer a bit technique wise. How much they suffer is up to you though, and I would rather see someone do 7-2-1 than 7-3 if that last rep is total garbage.

There you have it, two strategies for correcting muscle imbalances. Try them both and see which works for you!


Is this a problem?


You aren’t going to lose one of your limbs or walk in circles if one leg is stronger than the other, but it is a good idea to stay somewhat balanced. We want force production to be as symmetrical as possible and having a small muscle imbalance that isn’t addressed could turn into something bigger down the road if it’s neglected.

Minimizing the difference between the two sides could be beneficial for sport and will help maintain peace of mind for you in the gym.


Photo Sources: muscle imbalancebaby, preacherfighter, stretch

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