T Nation

Importance of Muscle Balance

I (just like every young man) began my lifting career by doing mostly pushing such as bench press along with bicep curls. My thought was I would have a huge chest and arms…Well just like most young men I did not know shit…

Fastfoward a few years later…

I have a descent size chest and biceps. Guess what else? I have a imbalance between my push strenght and my pull strength. Doesnt sound all that bad? Well… I aslo have rounded shoulders, smaller triceps, and a major posture problem. All can be corrected with work but if I had listened to others as I went along I would not have this problem to deal with.

So young guys and newbies please listen when someone tells you you need to add some rowing, pull-ups and other pulling exersices. That person may be trying to save you from future problems. But dont take it from me, your back and shoulders will remind you down the line…Trust me!

good post, and valid points. I did the same thing and as my physique doesn’t quite have the imbalalnces you mentioned my rowing strength is much less then my pushing strength. still need to get it up.

This is indeed a good post and well worth heeding. I did not make this particular mistake early on myself. I just trained everything wrong.

The exact opposite is true for me, in earlier years I was a super avid rock and ice climber. I gave it up eventually because I was getting very weird injuries and was tired of looking like a monkey (big forearms, skinny legs, and a rounded back with huge lats and traps).

In any case, I had a hell of time getting my DB press’ and bench to where my pull-ups and rows were. To give you an idea, when I first started hitting the gym hard, I was bench pressing 135 lbs x 12 and doing full pull-ups (totaly locking out elbows) with 4sets x 12 reps with 60 lbs on a dip belt… Crazy imbalanced in my opinion, I’ve gotten that bench number up quite a bit since then, and the shoulders feel a lot better.

Good post. I developed an imbalance in my right shoulder from doing years of push work and no back work. About 6 months of heavy back work fixed that up, but it took my about a year in between to figure out that I didn’t injure my rotator cuff and it was my training routine that was F-ed up.

I see alot of guys doing this in the gym(all pushing, very little back). Kinda confused on how some of the guys that are in their late 20s who are still doing mostly chest dont have imbalances. I guess sooner or later it’ll catch up with them.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:
I (just like every young man) began my lifting career by doing mostly pushing such as bench press along with bicep curls. My thought was I would have a huge chest and arms…Well just like most young men I did not know shit…

Fastfoward a few years later…

I have a descent size chest and biceps. Guess what else? I have a imbalance between my push strenght and my pull strength. Doesnt sound all that bad? Well… I aslo have rounded shoulders, smaller triceps, and a major posture problem. All can be corrected with work but if I had listened to others as I went along I would not have this problem to deal with.

So young guys and newbies please listen when someone tells you you need to add some rowing, pull-ups and other pulling exersices. That person may be trying to save you from future problems. But dont take it from me, your back and shoulders will remind you down the line…Trust me![/quote]

This should be a sticky…

I’m still trying to correct the imbalances I created from the obsession with developing a “big chest”. Never got the big chest, but did get a weak back, aching shoulders and elbows. Now I train the back nearly 2:1 vs the chest, utilize face pulls, pay attention to scapular mobility, etc.
I also have the second most common imbalance seen in the gym: the anterior pelvic tilt.
If only I could have been convinced back then…

Same here…
When I started I didn’t like the workouts people told me to do so I made my own (some of you will remember my crappy workouts)…basically I was doing only shoulders and biceps…for almost a year (no legs,no back…)

I got tendo on my right arm for not doing triceps (I suppose).
I started a proper workout a month a go, NOT designed by me this time :wink:

I think this is a very big problem that should be passed on to all young fellas.

Reverse writs curls - for preventing (or at least reducing) many elbow tendon problems.

I can tell you why. The upper body is way overrated in the teen years. Nobody really sees your legs much so we neglect them. I lifted for about a year and a half before I learned the importance of squatting. That was from all the books that I had collected from vitamin world, the store that I buy my protein shakes from. I wish I had knew from the beginning though.

Now squatting has become my favorite exercise along with benching. Plus you never hear girls talking about what nice legs you have. Its usually about the arms, chest, and abs. But I think legs are making a huge comback and soon they will be noticed even more like they are in the world of bodybuilding(I hope).

I think this should remain in close circulation so other people will continue to read it. Maybe the Moderators should switch it over to the Begginers thread.

[quote]sed26 wrote:
I can tell you why. The upper body is way overrated in the teen years. Nobody really sees your legs much so we neglect them. I lifted for about a year and a half before I learned the importance of squatting. That was from all the books that I had collected from vitamin world, the store that I buy my protein shakes from. I wish I had knew from the beginning though.

Now squatting has become my favorite exercise along with benching. Plus you never hear girls talking about what nice legs you have. Its usually about the arms, chest, and abs. But I think legs are making a huge comback and soon they will be noticed even more like they are in the world of bodybuilding(I hope).[/quote]

I know a fair amount of girls that check out guys wheels. Most of the girls are atheletes I guess so they know what to look for in a strong man.

Although women might not directly comment on the wheels for the most part, if your in shorts and your “KER-PLOW!” up top and just toothpicks downlow, they’ll notice the imbalance.

Plus theirs nothing better than having a chick ride you reverse cowboy and have 2 chunky quads to hold on to.

Almost all of us made this initial mistake, good post.

Keep it going!

I haven’t always done smart things in the gym but, I’m happy that since I started this summer I’ve always tried to keep a balanced approach to all my body parts.

My shoulder is already getting better after doing some correction exercises. Thank God…It was a pain!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I’m willing to bet that we all made this mistake because of the typical superhero posture. Maybe if it was opposite, superheros having bigger legs and a good upperbody, maybe it would’ve made a difference. Of maybe I’m just stupid. But I think I only made this mistake because my first year of working out was strictly at home with my own weights and lacked one important thing. A squat rack. I think if I had that at my house I probably would’ve started out right.

Adding to the fact that all of my workouts were inside my house in a small room. I remember that when I first got my YMCA membership, I squatted like I should’ve been doing without someone telling me to. So had I already had one at home, it would’ve made a difference. I think if a person should have a bench, he should also have a squat rack since benches are what I saw in people’s yards 100% of the time growing up.

I am trying to keep this alive in hopes others will learn before it is too late!!

Mike Robertson is the man when it comes to structural balance.

Two of my favorites:

Hips Don’t Lie
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1508256

Push ups, Face Pulls, and Shrugs for Strong Healthy Shoulders
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1426252