In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.
This post probably is going to be considerably shorter than my average post, but don’t let the length of the post take away from the importance of the post. In one of my previous posts I talk about muscle imbalances, how we all have them, and what can be done to address them.
I want to take this time to talk about how we can change up our exercises to help address not the muscular imbalances from one muscle group to another, but the imbalance we all have from our dominant side to our weaker side. It’s only natural that we have this imbalance because we always use our stronger side because, mainly it has better coordination, and yeah, it’s stronger. Because of this, over the years the imbalance may become quite pronounced in that one side may become quite stronger than the other.
I’m working out
You have been working out, resistance training, getting stronger. Good for you! If you look at most of the training we do, it is usually exercises that work both sides in unison. For those doing body weight exercises you are probably doing pushups, pull ups, body weight squats, etc. For those using weights, you’re probably doing barbell bench presses, barbell squats, tricep push downs, etc. See what’s going on here? We are exercising both our weak, and dominate sides together. Typically this ends up where our dominate side picks up the slack and continues to be dominant, doing more work.
For most of us, that’s probably ok. But, for those of us who are involved in activities that could benefit from having both sides of our body equally strong, you may want to look at what can be done to achieve that equalization.
The good news is that it’s really easy to bring things back to a balance. You just have to have patience. What you need to do is take any exercise you have been doing where both sides are engaged and separate the stronger side from the weaker side. Let’s look at how we can do that with a couple of examples:
- Bench Press – Instead of doing barbell bench press, do a dumbbell bench press
- Tricep Push Down – Try doing a one arm dumbbell tricep extension instead.
- Barbell Bicep Curl – Same thing, change it up to a dumbbell bicep curl
With the above exercises, and any exercise that isolates one side from the other, start with the weaker side, then repeat the exercise on the dominant side but doing only as many reps as you did on the weaker side. You need to let the weaker side dictate what the stronger side will do. Over time, this will bring you the balance between both sides.
For those doing body weight exercises such as pushups, try to keep yourself centered and balanced when doing the exercise. It can be easy to let the stronger side take over. Try to resist the urge to have the stronger side power you through those last few reps. Stop when you feel your weaker side starting to fatigue.
It’s not that complicated, really. It does require patience as you take the time to strengthen your weaker side to equal the stronger side. But the rewards are sweet as you then realize you are able to do the same activities with the same results on both sides of your body! And there is an added bonus. Because you are working out with dumbbells, your coordination on both the dominate side and the weaker side will benefit! Really, why would you not want to do this? And if you ever break your dominant arm, you’ll be relaxed knowing the other side is just as strong and coordinated and will pick up the slack. No worrying about having to brush your teeth using your other arm.
You are the artist and your body is the canvas. You have the choice of what brushes to use. I’ve just given you another brush.
Yours in health,