How to best maintain symmetry or develop a lagging muscle? Pics inside.

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by Blytheryn, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    Hey guys,

    I've been lifting weights/bodybuilding since January 2014, and I feel like I have made some decent gains since then. I'm quite happy with my progress and the weights I am moving at the moment. One thing that bugs me though is that I feel that my left side, especially shoulder, biceps are weaker significantly than my right side which is odd, as I am left handed in every aspect except my guitar playing. For example, when doing an alternating hammer curl set of 20 reps my left arm will give tire and eventually give out faster than my right, to the point of not physically being able to keep going after the 10th-12th rep while my right could keep going for another easy 10.

    This I feel is ultimately affecting the physical development of my left arm which I feel is becoming less developed than my right. I can notice a small but noticeable difference in the size of my left bicep already. Any suggestions on what to do? I've attached some pictures, to help.

    I'd really appreciate any tips and suggestions on what to do to catch up or even out those muscles.


    Front
    [​IMG]

    Right arm
    [​IMG]

    Left arm
    [​IMG]

    Right arm flexed
    [​IMG]

    Left arm flexed
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ibanezsam4

    Ibanezsam4 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    213
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    tons of stretching and mobility work.

    get a lacrosse ball and start breaking up the tissue in your shoulders and biceps. start doing wrist mobility, making sure your technique for curls is on point.

    reduce your weight on the curls a bit so you can concentrate on every little detail of the movement.

    also pay attention to your grip, are you gripping the barbell differently in your left and right hand?

    symmetry starts in your head. work on your mind muscle connection instead of just working out the reps

    this last step depends on how serious you are about body building. put your guitar down for a few weeks and concentrate on fixing your imbalances first
     
  3. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    Lacrosse ball? What do I do with that? I'll definitely take a look at my curl technique next arm day. Right off the top of my head I can say that on my barbell curls I have no problem, and it's locked wrists all the way through, however I might have a tendency to favor one arm on barbell lifts, using it slightly more. When I try to employ my left bicep it becomes much harder.

    Mind muscle connection is thinking about each rep and the exact muscle employed during the entire set, right? Think concentration curls?

    At the moment, I can say that I lift weights more than I play guitar. Life and work in general are eating up a lot of my time. I try to get in the gym every day, if I have time.
     
  4. Ibanezsam4

    Ibanezsam4 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    213
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    i got you dude, this is what you do with a lacrosse ball



    this will help break up the muscle tissue and help it stretch. i have calf problems and they knot up a lot. doing this prevents that. works for your pecs too.

    think of how we position our bodies when we play guitar. that eventually creates imbalances because we strengthen shoulders, wrists, biceps outside of a neutral position.

    so if you try the lacrosse ball thing, think of the muscles that are out of position and work those.

    try isolation with dumbells for a little to even it out. mind muscle connection is knowing the exact feeling of a perfect curl because you know the contraction by heart.

    a lot of body builders will touch a muscle with one hand during iso movements so they know what engagement feels like. in theory you should be able to feel the difference between both arms and work to correct.
     
  5. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    Dude, thanks so much for the tips. I'll definitely take them into account when I get into the gym next tomorrow. I'll really put more "thought" into my reps. Hope I can get this sorted somehow in the future. It's not like I have a huge right arm compared to my left, it's just that in some shirts the sleeve looser, and I'd like to have an as symmetrical physique as possible. :lol:
     
  6. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Location:
    Europe
    If it was me I'd just try not to think about it too much. It should even out over time provided you lift the same weight with both arms.

    Personally I try to train my biceps more by heavy pulling rather than curls. It's not the reason why I do it, but it seems to me like that, or barbell training in general, should make it easier to have both arms do equal amounts of work.
     
  7. AliceLG

    AliceLG \m/^_^\m/

    Messages:
    1,236
    Likes Received:
    123
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Location:
    Braunschweig, Germany
    I had a wrist injury in my right hand at the beginning of this year and my right bicep paid the price. Since I couldn't lift anything with my right hand, my left one developed to compensate. If you're ok with just keeping your right bicep at its current state, then go down in weight or reps and focus on your left arm. It'll catch up eventually.
     
  8. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    I'll add a few sets of Bicep cable pulls, and some isolation bicep curls to my bicep routine, see where that leads.

    I'll think about that! I'm used to doing around 8-12 reps for around 4 sets of each excercise I do, and when possible drop set a lot when doing biceps. I'll lower the weights a little next time and see how that works out. I've got my Fat Gripz too, to keep things fun :)
     
  9. onefingersweep

    onefingersweep SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,067
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    I have the exact same "thing". Unfortunately it's 100% genetic. The only thing you can do is to train the left more than the right and hope it catches up. It probably never will catch up entirely though. Luckily I'm not into bodybuilding, I would probably go mad if I was. But doing grip training this is really a catch 22 for me, it frustrates the hell out of me. I hate being neurologically better with left but muscularly weaker.
     
  10. UnderTheSign

    UnderTheSign SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,998
    Likes Received:
    205
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Location:
    West Coast, The Netherlands
    I think when he said pulls though, he meant stuff like rows, pullups, etc.
     
  11. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Location:
    Europe
    Right, that's what I meant. My main idea with this is that it lets you train your back at the same time as your biceps, but in this case I'd think that if you pull heavy, both arms need to chip in and do about equal amounts of work (and any muscle imbalance should even out), as opposed to if you do more isolation stuff where maybe your technique differs from one arm to the next, which I would guess might cause imbalances. Now of course, if you're dead set on compensating for the difference you percieve, doing isolation stuff with the weaker arm might be a good idea. But like I said before, if it was me I'd just try not to think about it. I can't really see anything on the pics that makes me react, and we're all a little asymmetrical in various ways anyway.
     
  12. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    Ah, I see! Sorry there. Yeah, I get you. Makes a lot of sense too. Thanks for the input! Ever since I've moved to Gothenburg from the smaller town I'd been living in, i've been more or less gymming alone so it's awesome to get feedback etc. from you gym rats! I'll try and make some changes in my back/biceps routine and see where that gets me.
     
  13. Josh Delikan

    Josh Delikan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2016
    Location:
    London
    The only solution is to train the lagging part(s) a little more than the other(s) until they catch up, and from then on focus on training them evenly. Make sure that you're not inadvertently squeezing one side more than the other at the top of a lift, for example.

    My right bicep was noticeably smaller than the left for quite a while, so I just added a couple of reps for the right arm at the end of each biceps set. Did that for a couple of months and now they're (more or less) perfectly symmetrical.

    By the way, you're making great progress bro; keep it up!
     
  14. 13la13la

    13la13la Amateur Idiot Contributor

    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Location:
    Loosdrecht, Netherlands
    Another thing you could try is to always start an exercise with your weaker side.
    You'd do reps with your weaker side first to see where the limit lies and you follow-up with your stronger side.

    Like others already said: mind-muscle connection is most important! Make sure you are really activating the entire muscle and not "just" curl the weight up.

    Obviously isolate the muscles a bit for the compensation, but don't forget the important compound movements, I personally would lower the weights on all movements and focus on technique purely. (with compound movements you might still exert more force with your stronger/more dominate side, which is why I'd lower the weights)

    I see you're getting some gains! Smash it up using the lacrosse ball, stretch and you'll be a beast bro in no time!
     
  15. Blytheryn

    Blytheryn Musical Adam West

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    552
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2015
    Location:
    USA/Sweden
    Wow, just saw this now, so sorry for the uber late response and bringing this thread back from the dead. Then again, the lifestyle forum is pretty dead anyway here, so there's that...:nuts:

    Good stuff. I've lowered the weights and have been really thinking of my mind and muscle connection, on most lifts, especially shoulders and arms. I usually try and get into the 10-15 rep range on most dumbbell lifts, and 8-12 for the barbell, because I still want to a bit of heavy lifting. I am noticing an increase in symmetry. Still have to pick up a lacrosse ball. I'll try and find one at a store around here.
     

Share This Page