Saturday, February 25, 2012
5:23 PM OoFaP 4 comments
Naturally, everybody has one dominant arm over the other. If you are a righty, chances are you have gone your entire life doing everything with your right hand and as a result, your right arm will be stronger and probably bigger too. The good news is that there are some ways to even them out. The bad news is that it won't happen over night. As someone who once had his right arm 1.25 inches bigger than his left and now has his left arm slightly bigger than his right, I've learned a few things over the years to solve this problem. It's best to start trying to even them out now because the more uneven they get, the longer it will take to fix.
Ditch the Barbells
You always hear that barbells are a mass builder and they should be used as much as possible. It may be true that they are excellent for building strength on power movements but they are also the number one cause of uneven arms. Barbells allow your stronger arm to take over the movement and you may not even realize it. Switch to dumbbells for all of your bicep and tricep exercises to allow each arm to be worked more evenly. For example, instead of barbell curls and skull crushers, do dumbbell curls and dumbbell skull crushers.
Work Each Arm Separately
Building on the previous tip, not all exercises are done with a barbell but that doesn't mean your arms are being worked evenly. Exercises like machine preacher curls and tricep pushdowns don't use a barbell but still work both arms at the same time which means that one arm can dominate. For these exercises, you should work each arm separately to ensure that one arm isn't doing more work.
Weaker Arm First
When working your arms separately, it's important to start with your weaker arm first. This way, you know when to stop with your stronger arm so that you get an equal work out with each arm. The whole point of working your arms separately is to ensure you get an equal work out with each arm. If you do more with your stronger arm, you are defeating the purpose.
Work Each Arm Equally
This is probably the most important tip. Some people try doing extra sets with their weaker arm or do more weight and more reps. This isn't a good idea. You should use the same weight for the same reps and same sets or else you may end up over training one side and under training the other. Go with the weight that your weak arm can handle for the desired amount of reps and just do that with your strong arm too. Over time, they will even out.
Use Weaker Arm More
This may seem weird, but try to use your weaker arm for some more everyday activities. Open doors, carry groceries, drink water, eat meals, etc. with your weaker arm. It will help you become more comfortable using your weaker arm and over time will help you become more comfortable using it in the gym which will allow for better mind muscle connection.
Other Uneven Body Parts?
Arms aren't the only body part that can be uneven. Legs, chest, and even your lats can develop unevenly. These body parts are a bit tougher to even out because the best exercises for these body parts aren't possible to do with only one side at a time. For example, squats are the best exercises for legs but you can't do them one leg at a time. Pull ups are the best exercise for lats but you cant do one armed pull ups. In situations like these, I would recommend still doing your basic exercises like squats and pull ups but after that, do only exercises where you can hit each side separately and use the above tips. For example, after you do your squats, you can do dumbbell lunges or single leg leg presses. After pull ups you can do dumbbell rows or one arm cable rows. For an uneven chest, you can follow the above tips for the most part since dumbbell bench press can replace barbell bench press for the most part.
Summing up, uneven arms are a problem that a lot of people have and they can be evened out with time and patience. You should switch from barbells to dumbbells, work each arm separately, start with your weaker arm first, work each arm equally, and try using your weaker arm for some more everyday tasks. These tips can be applied to other uneven body parts too but it is a bit tougher since you don't want to skip out on the best exercises just to try to even out a body part.