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 Post subject: Muscle Balance?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:06 pm 
Hi,

I've been working on a high intensity-low volume program of my own design for about 3 months now. I am meeting my targets and am lucky enough still to be early enough in my program that my weight and rep increases are still happening very rapidly.

One problem I am having though is dysymetry between the left and right side of my body. This is surprising to me, and I can't find any rhyme or reason to them.

First some background.

I am right-handed.
I used to be a competetive swimmer until I was 17
I took up martial arts for 4 years.

Here are my problem areas:
1) Though close enough to the same size, the biceps on my right arm (vs. left) are considerably stronger (lift more weight) and have much better endurance. This I can partly understand just based on the fact that I am right-hand dominant.

2) The triceps on my left arm are pretty close to the same as the right in strength, but are much larger and seem to be better developed (flexing, I get a flattened sausage shaped protrusion). On the right, I have much less protrustion, and more of the "U" shape that I see in about 50% of the other guys in the gym. It's like I have the arms of two different people!

Now, this has always been the case, and I was hoping that they would balance out with my workouts.

The trouble is, I can feel the stronger arm doing "more work" on my lifts, and while both arms are getting bigger at more or less the same rate, the disparity between them seems to be sticking.

Help!?

What can I do differently? Should I go a couple of weeks without working the dominant muscles to let the others 'catch up?'

Should I just ignore it and hope that they will balance out eventually?


I'm not terribly vain about my body. It's only really noticeable if I'm flexing hard... But it is curious, and just a hair frustrating :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 8:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:04 pm
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I have imbalance between my right side and left side also. For the past year, I have been doing single sided exercises (along with compound). For example, I will first work my left side biceps (weaker) for whatever reps it can take, then work my right side for the same number of reps. It is slowly working.

I will do the double-sided reps for variety or if I am short of time, but I find the dominant side will do most of the work if I don't go to single sides.

I don't have to worry about size differences- there's not much size there!

Diane


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:41 pm
Posts: 667
Location: Davis, California
You need to include some dumbbell work in your routine so that the sides must do equal work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 3:36 pm 
I guess nobody can help me unless I outline my workout.

As I stated, it's a low-volume progressive intensity workout.

My workouts are broken into push-pull-cardio, 5 days a week. This works out to Monday-push, Tuesday-pull, Wednesday-Cardio/core, Thursday-Push, Friday-Pull.

My weekends are free for recovery. I'm making striding gains, usually increasing weight every monday/tuesday, and up to 12 reps per set by friday. As I said, I expect to peak soon as some muscles are starting to slow in their development.

I have a sheet with a list of target muscle groups, and a good 6-10 excercises per group (with some exceptions), broken down into bar, dumb, and cable/lever machines. I try to do 2-4 excercises per group per day, time permitting. The YMCA in my area has an excellent weight room. I try to randomize my workouts, so that I avoid sticking with one particular type of machine. For example, I'd do 4 major chest exercises, a dumbbell bench press, bar decline, lever incline press, and cable fly's.

Some groups obviously (levators, for example) only have one type of exercise, so I alternate different equipment. (e.g., one set of bar shrugs, one set of dumbbells.).

Although it sounds disorganised, it seems to work very well, I can track my progress accurately, and I'm able to keep the volume and intensity of my workout fairly consistant. When I say I randomize, I mean just that; I usually pick my particular equipment/exercise at that moment in time based on what's open, what I did the previous cycle etc. My workout sheets look messy, but I can understand it :)

My concern is that I don't really have a lot of time to work out. I get 1.5hrs in the morning, (I start at 6-6:30) and I have to include shower, shave, etc and hiking to work immediately afterwards. Evening workouts don't work so well (to tired after work, plus I have school etc.).

I don't want to fall into a regimen of only using dumbbells, since I like the variety. I've found much better results, faster gains, and less sore-arm downtime by varying my workout.

What I've been doing for dumbs is keeping the wieght consistant but watching my weaker arm for form. When I lose form, I stop my reps, even if the other arm has some gas left. When using dumbs, I can see a small amount of disparity left/right, but nowhere on my body is it as pronounced as on my biceps and triceps.

I would assume that eventually things will balance out, I just want to make sure that what I'm doing won't aggravate the issue.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:41 pm
Posts: 667
Location: Davis, California
As long as you are doing some dumbbell work and not allowing barbell moves to become very lopsided, then over time things should work out just fine.


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