Muscle imbalances are very common, especially in people that have only just started lifting weights. Most of us naturally have a stronger side and when you start working out, it’s easy to let the strong muscles take the majority of the load. That means they grow and the weaker muscles don’t, so the imbalance gets much larger. People also find they have imbalances when they only work certain areas of the body while neglecting others.
Muscle imbalances can lead to problems and make it harder to get good results, so you need to do something about them. These are the best ways to correct muscle imbalances when lifting weights.
Create A Clear Training Plan
The first step to fixing any problem is to identify what it is and that involves planning. Your training plan needs to be as detailed as possible and include exercises for every muscle group, as well as the frequency of those exercises. It also needs to show whether you work those muscles on one or both sides of your body and which side you’ll work on first.
You need to cover the upper body (arms, shoulders, back), lower body (legs and glutes), and core in your workouts. It may be worth joining a gym like Elevate Fitness or Fitness 19 where you can work with an experienced personal trainer who can create a plan for you. If you don’t have a detailed workout plan, it’s easy to neglect certain muscle groups and make imbalances worse, so planning is key.
Do Unilateral Exercises
Unilateral exercises are where you work one side of the body at a time. They’re great for correcting muscle imbalances because they strengthen muscles on weaker sides while taking stress off them, too. For example, instead of lifting a barbell, lift two dumbbells. When lifting a barbell, the strong side takes the majority of the weight and that side of the bar will lift faster. But when you are doing a unilateral exercise, your weaker side cannot rely on the strong muscles to carry the load, meaning you get an equal workout on both sides.
However, if there is already an imbalance there, working both sides equally will not fix it completely.
Do Extra Workouts On The Weaker Muscles
The only way to fully correct your imbalance is to build up the weaker muscles. That’ll involve doing extra workouts where you focus on those weak muscles. You should start by doing your normal workout routine on both sides. Then, when you have finished, add a few extra sets on the weaker side to encourage muscle growth. Don’t go overboard because you risk injuring yourself or creating more imbalances. Just add a couple of extra sets at the end of each workout to slowly even things out. When doing those extra workouts, make sure that you pick exercises that isolate very specific muscles, so you are only focused on the areas that need the most work.
Follow these steps and you can get rid of any imbalances and improve your overall fitness.