T Nation

Balancing Left Arm/Right Arm


I am noticing a new problem developing as I gain strength in my arms.

Today, I was doing my normal arm routine but with increased weight. Normally, I do 8-10 reps per arm, but today found that I could only do those on my right arm. My left was failing at 6-7.

This is alarming to me as I have been focusing on working out weak links. I have been focusing on each arm carefully up to this point, and I have no idea what the cause of this is.

Fixes that come to mind:

Train left arm harder than right. More sets?

Double the amount of reps, but do assisted concentric, focus on negatives?

Just keep hammering both arms equally. It's just a weird funk that will work itself out?

I asked a guy at the gym, and he told me it's a forearm issue.

Any advice?


i think you answered your own question.


So, do more or let it balance itself out?


The cause? Being a special, unique, individual Human. (Awwww. Hugs all around.) But really, the vast majority of people have a noticeable size and/or strength difference between limbs.

That's too hard to monitor for effectiveness (how much more is just enough?), and what's the right arm doing while the left's getting extra attention? That would lay the foundation to flip the imbalance in the other direction.

Same as above. Special techniques for the "lagging" side will most likely throw you further out of whack.

Actually, cater to the weaker side. Work both arms with a weight that allows 8-10 reps for the left arm. Your right will basically be put on "maintenance," but that will allow the left to progress at a consistent pace.

[Arnold accent]It's not a forearm issue. It's not a forearm issue at all.[/Arnold accent]


Listen to Chris Colucci, anything that will balance your arms out will undoubedly require gaining strength/hypertrophy of your left arm and less of a strength/hypertrophy gain in the stronger arm.

Do not try to balance them out with sets and reps, just use your weaker arms as the limiting factor that determines when you terminate a set.

Try not to ask "guys at the gym" unless you are realatively sure taht they know what they are talking about.


Heh, yeah... I walked away from 'that guy' wondering what he was talking about.

Hey, thanks for all the help guys. I'll put it into play.


it is not difficult job. usually for right handed people brain is tuned to concentrate more towards right hand side and for left handed people vice versa. During training even though we take load equally with both hands, brain can't concentrate on both sides equally except in ambidextrous people. For right hand people concentration go first towards right side automatically while lifting a bar and without our knowledge (if we observe carefully) right hand take first action followed by both hands. this is the reason right hand grow much more and faster than left.

to avoid this problems, here are some tips i practiced
1. practicing everyday doing things like daily activities with weak hand like opening doors, washing, cleaning, bathing.etc
2. practicing single arm exercises with dumbbells with weak hand for 3 weeks, keeping other hand in complete rest.
3. holding bar with little bias so that more weight towards weak side instead of holding the bar exactly equally in bench press, upright barbell rows, barbel curl..etc with concentration on weaker side while lifting so that this brain automatically concentrates on heavy weight lifting side.

by practicing above 3 techniques in just 3 weeks you will see best results for sure..

good luck


Wow... that's a heckuva bump just to give some bad advice.

Just like I said seven months ago, any techniques that emphasize one side to the neglect of the other will only work to switch the discrepancy in the other direction.

Training only the "weak" side and resting the "strong" side is absurd. Doing zero exercise for an otherwise healthy bodypart is not a smart plan for long-term progress.

And completely offsetting your grip of the bar? You're completely changing the exercise, and the stress that exercise puts on your entire body. Again, not a smart plan.

And why three weeks? Why not two weeks, or five weeks, or 19 days?

Sorry bro, but for your first post, you're not off to the best start. :wink:


You clearly know what you're talking about, so I have more of a ignorance based question rather than an argument.

Surely (ignorance) in everyday life we favour our dominant arm heavily so it would be very difficult for us to throw the imbalance the other way as you said 7 months ago (super bump)? My left arm is far superior to my right (strength wise) and inadvertently takes more weight when I lift a barbell etc...

Should I neglect max strength to bring up weaker muscles or just keep at it with my left arm taking more of the strain?


If there's a drastic difference between limbs, as in, every single exercise ends with a major difference (one side failing/fatiguing 3 or more reps earlier than the other side) or if there's a visually-noticeable difference (like 2 inches in arm size), then I'd prioritize unilateral work (dumbbells, anything where the limbs can actually lift their own share of the load, not like a barbell).

But if it isn't a huge distraction, you could train "normally", but make an effort to include some unilateral work to encourage the weaker side to catch up. For example, throwing a few sets of dumbbell pressing into your chest routine and catering to the weaker side with those, in addition to everything you're already doing.

Make sense? Basically, if you feel it honestly deserves attention, give it. If it's just something you notice occasionally, address it occasionally.