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Dealing with Lat Imbalance?


Hey, first post...

I'm getting a good mind muscle connection with my lats/back (which previously I hadnt) and I've begun to notice quite a bad imbalance.

My left back muscle connect/contracts really well, and I feel like I could go up in weight, however with my right, I just cant seem to reach the same contraction. Its like I'm using my lat to start with but cant fully finish. Ive decided it must be either/both:

  1. Weak scapular/upper back on the one side (ive thought this because while I normally I do chest supported row, when I do dumbell row I find it much harder to retract my upper back)

  2. Shoulder/chest flexibility

My form looks virtually spot on I just dont have the strength on my right side to "finish"

Its really annoying since my other lifts are going up and I cant even row a decent set of 10k dbs.

Has anyone else experienced this, and what are the best corrective exercises?





This problem is developing in me, too. Barely noticeable but still annoying. I've been experimenting with BB Pendlay rows by rowing the bar at different angles. All I came up with is that if I keep the bar totally straight and just focus then I can feel it in my weaker left lat. If my form gets sloppy and my goal is just to row the weight then my powerful right lat takes over.


You're probably worrying too much about something that doesn't even matter. Is there any visual difference between the lat sizes? If not, don't put too much thought into it, and definitely don't let it hold you back from increasing the weight.


Thanks guys...

I dont want to add more weight since my left would EASILY surpass my right side in terms of both weight and reps. Sure, I may not see any difference yet but down the line I'm sure the imbalance with be rather noticeable.

Would love to look into ART, however for now I'm focusing on lower/mid trap strength with things like wall slides, prone Y's, etc.

If anyone has any other ideas for corrective exercises I can do I would appreciate it.

Thanks again


ART has nothing to do with "what you are concentrating in".

Active Release Thechnique


I know, but I dont currently have the money required for ART treatment, my solution was corrective exercises because I can do them whenever, and with any luck they'll help.


is it just that it doesn't feel the same on both sides or that you literally can't lift the weight on the left side?

I can feel a bit more control with my right hand on a lot of unilateral exercises (I'm right handed after all, it's a little more coordinated), but the strength and size difference is very small.

the fact you say you cant row 10kg dumbells makes me think you are probably concentrating way more on this than you need to. of course you can!


Foam roller then.


Yeah, 10k dumbells on my left side is easy as piss more or less. I can control easily, hold the contraction and lower slower keeping tension on the back.

On my right however, I feel a pull in my back on the way up but when my elbow is just about to pass my body, I find it hard to keep my upper back from rounding, and I feel my bicep comes into play. Ive played around for ages with even smaller weights to get the same mmc, but Im seriously believing I have a little muscular/postural imbalance. Maybe it is just practice for getting a good feel, I just cant understand why the one side contracts so well, and feels so natural.

^^ What exercises would you recommend- for lats and upper back?

Thanks guys appreciate it.


practice. practice the movement. it might be an activation thing more than anything else.

when you are using dumbbells be sure to start with your weakest arm and only let your strong arm match whatever your weak arm did. that way you prevent further imbalances and eventually your weaker one will catch up.

is the range of motion greater in your dumbbell rows than your chest supported rows?

i'm wondering because i've had issues with rows where i worry that i'm not finishing the movement properly. not retracting my back properly or something... i've just realized i find it to be more of a problem on dumbbell exercises that have a greater range of motion than barbell exercises.

how are your chin-ups / pull-ups / lat pull downs? do you have the same problem with them??

are you left or right handed? is one of your biceps stronger than the other?


...heres where it gets deeper haha

Ive been doing pulldowns for a couple of months properly (getting better at them/used to pull with my arms) - I do these instead of pullups because I tend to use my left lat and right bicep (in pullups) so while I can basically pull my body up for around 4-5 reps, I'm getting a better feeling with pulldowns.

My chinups arent bad, although I havent recently been incorporating them into my workout, I get a good contraction for these (both sides).

I am right handed so that explains why I probably favour the use of the arm than the lat. My right bicep is stronger but not by a huge amount.

Thanks for the help once again guys



Try these.


^ Thanks, will do.


i see. so it does sound like activation issues, then. a lot of people have trouble learning to use their lats without their biceps taking over. i went through the same thing with chin-ups (trying to do them using my back as much as possible rather than my biceps). still have a tendancy to muscle up with my biceps when things get tough and working really hard not to let that happen. sounds like you find that with pull-ups.

another thing i've found (that might be part of what is happening for you) is that that top part of the range of motion as the hands get closer to the body seems to be the weakest part of the movement. i do inverted rows (like an upside down push-up using the bar in the smith machine). when i'm fresh i can generate enough power in the lower part of the movement so my body really flies through the air and i slam my chest into the bar. when i get tired i move much more slowly and that last couple of inches before my chest hits the bar are a real bitch.

that is what i find hard with dumbbell rows - that top part of the motion. i feel like i should get a good scapular retraction or something (where your shoulder blades really contract back hard) but i can't get that going on at the top of the movement.

i think it is because... my lats are stronger than my scapulae??? or something like that?

not sure if that is part of what is going on for you, too?


^ Yea I think kinda. I had a much better session in the gym today despite the fact I pretty sore as hell from spending my two off days twisting and pulling- trying to make my lat work ha.

Definitely weaker at the top half of the movement but I presume thats the same for everyone.

JayPierce: Tried those out today at the gym and they were pretty awesome. I hope I get some extreme DOM's from those as they really allow me to contract well.

Thanks again guys.. I will be seeing a physio soon due to a lower back issue (have been doing only upper body for nearly a month) and I suppose I could ask about my lats there.

I'm just gonna practice as much as possible.