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Unequal strength left to right using dumbbells

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:33 pm
by Esteban
I'm just a few weeks into a strength training program, something I've never undertaken before in my 55 years. I've noticed that with dumbbell bent over rows that I can do more reps even with higher weight on the right side than the left. The same is true with the dumbbell shoulder press. Should I use the same weight on both sides, waiting for the left to catch up before increasing weight, or should I increase each side independently as I'm able?

Re: Unequal strength left to right using dumbbells

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:01 pm
by Stephen Johnson
Esteban wrote:I've noticed that with dumbbell bent over rows that I can do more reps even with higher weight on the right side than the left. The same is true with the dumbbell shoulder press. Should I use the same weight on both sides, waiting for the left to catch up before increasing weight, or should I increase each side independently as I'm able?
The former - let your weaker left side catch up to your stronger right side. You'll never get them to be exactly equal, but a wide discrepancy in strength between the two isn't good, especially if you plan to get into activities outside the gym.

This is common, BTW - if you are right handed, you use it much more than your left. I've made it a practice that when I'm carrying things (groceries, for example) I'll use my left hand to carry the heavier bags.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:03 pm
by standAPART
NO, use the weaker side's weight. They should not be that far off from each other. They should not be more than 10 pounds difference. The weakness may be due simply to the nervous system not stimulated on that side. My advice is to always start exercises with your weaker side (lunges satrt with left-if left is weaker) same for biceps curls or one legged squats.
It should catch up within 6-8 weeks of regular exercise.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:24 pm
by northernbelle
For about a year, I did single-sided exercises. I would use the weaker side's weight and reps, and then do the same for the stronger side. Then I had to take a break for a few weeks. When I went back, I found that the former stronger side was now weaker! Not by much. Now they are about even.

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:16 am
by mikek
if your strength is uneven use your weaker side weight on your weak side first and do negatives. so let say your doing db shoulder presses push up but come down as slow as possible, 12 or so reps then rince and repeat on the other side.

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:59 pm
by Esteban
Thanks for the replies. The consensus is clear: use the weaker side weight on both sides. I don't know if the discrepancy is that great. 25 lbs of 10 to 11 reps on left, 30 lbs of 15-16 on the right. Only 5 lbs difference and 5 reps, but that's still 20%!

We'll see how long it takes to equalize them.

mikek, I don't understand how doing negatives would help equalize. You are saying I should do the same on both sides, correct?