T Nation

Back Imbalane Update/New Imbalance


Posted a few weeks back regarding someone I had just started helping out in the gym and a rather substantial back imbalance. Got some downright excellent advice from lots of you and we’ve been applying lots of it over the past weeks.

Although not totally repaired yet the guy is definitely on the road to fixing the imbalance and can now at least feel his back.


The guy has made some great progress overall and in his excitement has invited another co-worker to begin training with us, and this dude is just all kinds of out of whack.

When preparing for the decline dumbell press, he can quickly front raise any weight up to the ready position with arms bent at 90 degrees like they were paperweigths, but then can’t “press” them.

In addition, when pressing (bench or incline) he has a bad habit of pressing backwards. For instance he might lift off the bar well in front of the rack but will press the bar up and back into the rack.

When I correct his movement to more of straight pressing motion his strength goes to zero, and he can’t get the bar much higher than just off his chest without having to press backward in order to keep the weight, even light weight moving up.

WTF!? Is a portion of his chest imbalanced? Shoulders?

The PTs at the gym would be of no help so I’m turning to you guys. Thanks for any help that you can offer.

Easy one, bud. The guy is WAY front delt-dominant. The decline presses are a good idea to take some of the front delt out of the exercise, but you should get the guy doing dips, too. It sounds like he has very little in the way of pec+tricep recruitment, so you just have to get him used to using the muscles together on bench and other pressing movements. Hell, I’d guide the bar for him on the bench press by pushing the bar back in place while he lifts it. He can do the negative part of the bench just fine, right? Just keep pushing the bar back into place, and eventually he’ll get it. Don’t go too heavy at first. Keep the elbows in while pressing, don’t use a very wide grip, maybe try a thumb-less grip on the bar for a while? Hmmm… I think that’s about all I can think of right now.