Having one side that is a bigger or stronger than the other is pretty annoying, especially in a world where everyone strives to be perfect. But it’s actually a fairly common problem. Some people may notice they have one quad or one side of their chest that is bigger than the other, or maybe that the barbell moves unevenly because one side is stronger. The cause of this can be any number of issues that are occurring in the gym or just within general life. So let’s have a look at how you can correct it.
Use Unilateral Exercises
If you have one side stronger than the other it’s likely that your stronger side will pretty much always take over during an exercise where both sides are being trained together. For example – With bench press. If your right pec is stronger than your left pec, your right side will likely do more work than your left will.
A way around this is to start replacing your bilateral exercises (where both sides are used simultaneously, like bench press) with unilateral exercises (where both sides are used individually, like dumbbell press). This guarantees that each side will do an equal amount of work and eliminates the possibility of the stronger muscle doing more work than the weaker muscle.
Lead With Your Weaker Side
After following my previous point for a while, you may find that your weaker side still isn’t catching up. You may be lifting 25kg for 8 reps on an exercise with your weak side, but then go on to lift 25kg for 12 reps with your stronger side. If you keep allowing that to happen, your weaker side will never catch up.
So what I’d recommend is to let your weaker side dictate what your stronger side does. So, if you can only do 8 reps with your weaker side, then you should only do 8 reps with your stronger side. I understand this can be frustrating in terms of making progress, but doing this will give your weak side a chance to finally catch up with your stronger side, at which point you can allow both sides to progress equally from that point on.
Fix The Underlying Issue
There are other cases where underlying issues cause these muscle imbalances in the first place. For example, there might just be an issue with flexibility, or a previous injury that’s preventing you from training both sides evenly. In my personal experience, I’ve had a lot of issues with my calf due to nerve and structural issues, so I have found that I benefit from doing some additional calf stretching and balance work before most leg workouts.
If you have a similar case, then I would suggest that changes need to be made to the way you train or a more detailed warm up may need to be added to fix this and prevent problems from arising in the future.