T Nation

Left Triceps Lagging

Hi,

I’ve been lifting for quite some time and have made some significant gains (all natural).

When I first started, though, I was doing french curls/nose breakers crooked, with my right arm doing most of the work. As a result, my left arm has always been 1/2 inch smaller and it’s noticeable that the size difference is in the triceps - specifically, the larger inner head.

Should I do one extra set for the left side or one less set for the right side until the left catches up? Maybe a combination of the two?

Thanks,
Mike

i have almost the same problem…

i dont know the solution, but i only use barbell exercises right now… and hopefully, the lagging side will catch up… however, my left side seems to be just as strong, but a bit smaller…

sorry, no help, i know…

Train the weaker muscles maximally and don’t exceed that with the stronger muscles to try and balance things out.

like Thib talked about in his last bulk up cut up article, neural activation is sometimes a problem and you have to work from that angle, i find with my arms, i had to work a little lighter to really feel the muscle working.

also do some isometric work, say lean over a smith machine bar and press down with your left hand in the range of motion your feel that your tricep will contract the hardest, and use your bodyweight for the isometric of your left hand. basically your in a one handed dip position with your left hand.

also work on equalling strength between both your arms

How big are your arms?

[quote]duke wrote:
Train the weaker muscles maximally and don’t exceed that with the stronger muscles to try and balance things out.[/quote]

truer words never spoken. Single limb work, training the weaker side setting the benchmark for the work performed by the stronger limb, as well as direction of action, balancing the push with the pull, will do a lot to correct and avoid any one sidedness. try going to all single limb for everything for a while.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
duke wrote:
Train the weaker muscles maximally and don’t exceed that with the stronger muscles to try and balance things out.

truer words never spoken. Single limb work, training the weaker side setting the benchmark for the work performed by the stronger limb, as well as direction of action, balancing the push with the pull, will do a lot to correct and avoid any one sidedness. try going to all single limb for everything for a while. [/quote]

These above posts are along the right track. But, you need to reverse the process. The reason most people have smaller muscles on one side than the other is because of compound exercises. Learn to use dumbbells more ofton to correct these weak points.

Using a compound movement will only make it worse if you have a severe indifference.

A good exercise would be one arm push ups for the triceps. You can even use both arms if you are not strong enough to do a one arm push up, just use the stronger arm as balance and push with the weaker arm.

Lots of one arm dumbbell kickbacks and dumbbell extensions. Start with the weaker arm first and go to failure, then do the stronger arm and do the exact same number of reps. Do this until you are equally balanced.

To reverse this weaker side into an equal side means to work it maximally and to work the stronger side minimally. This will correct the imbalance. Work them the same and you will have an imbalance.

[quote]AgentOrange wrote:
How big are your arms?[/quote]

my right arm is 20" and my left is 19.5" cold.

[quote]Go heavy fool wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
duke wrote:
Train the weaker muscles maximally and don’t exceed that with the stronger muscles to try and balance things out.

truer words never spoken. Single limb work, training the weaker side setting the benchmark for the work performed by the stronger limb, as well as direction of action, balancing the push with the pull, will do a lot to correct and avoid any one sidedness. try going to all single limb for everything for a while.

These above posts are along the right track. But, you need to reverse the process. The reason most people have smaller muscles on one side than the other is because of compound exercises. Learn to use dumbbells more ofton to correct these weak points.

Using a compound movement will only make it worse if you have a severe indifference.

A good exercise would be one arm push ups for the triceps. You can even use both arms if you are not strong enough to do a one arm push up, just use the stronger arm as balance and push with the weaker arm.

Lots of one arm dumbbell kickbacks and dumbbell extensions. Start with the weaker arm first and go to failure, then do the stronger arm and do the exact same number of reps. Do this until you are equally balanced.

To reverse this weaker side into an equal side means to work it maximally and to work the stronger side minimally. This will correct the imbalance. Work them the same and you will have an imbalance.[/quote]

Since I have shoulder issues with pressing movements, I use only dumbells for chest and shoulder presses. For tricep-specific exercises, I vary the exercises from french curls (regular and reverse grip - my favorite) to all sorts of one-arm dumbell exercises. I never do the same exercises 2 weeks in a row. It sounds like I should stick to one-armed dumbell exercises for awhile, start each set with the left arm, and do the same amount of reps with the right arm, even if I can do more.

Thanks for the tips. It makes sense. I’ll start on my next tricep day.

Mike

[quote]storemike wrote:
Go heavy fool wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
duke wrote:
Train the weaker muscles maximally and don’t exceed that with the stronger muscles to try and balance things out.

truer words never spoken. Single limb work, training the weaker side setting the benchmark for the work performed by the stronger limb, as well as direction of action, balancing the push with the pull, will do a lot to correct and avoid any one sidedness. try going to all single limb for everything for a while.

These above posts are along the right track. But, you need to reverse the process. The reason most people have smaller muscles on one side than the other is because of compound exercises. Learn to use dumbbells more ofton to correct these weak points.

Using a compound movement will only make it worse if you have a severe indifference.

A good exercise would be one arm push ups for the triceps. You can even use both arms if you are not strong enough to do a one arm push up, just use the stronger arm as balance and push with the weaker arm.

Lots of one arm dumbbell kickbacks and dumbbell extensions. Start with the weaker arm first and go to failure, then do the stronger arm and do the exact same number of reps. Do this until you are equally balanced.

To reverse this weaker side into an equal side means to work it maximally and to work the stronger side minimally. This will correct the imbalance. Work them the same and you will have an imbalance.

Since I have shoulder issues with pressing movements, I use only dumbells for chest and shoulder presses. For tricep-specific exercises, I vary the exercises from french curls (regular and reverse grip - my favorite) to all sorts of one-arm dumbell exercises. I never do the same exercises 2 weeks in a row. It sounds like I should stick to one-armed dumbell exercises for awhile and make sure the left arm, which is only a hair weaker, keeps up. Would that be the correct understanding?[/quote]

Pretty much… I also agree with the other two guys about training the weak arm maximally and the stronger arm will just have to suffer for awhile until the weak one catches up. I had your problem awhile back. I fixed it in like 2 months. All I did was dumbbell kickbacks. A ton of them. Pure isolation on that tricep and it finally caught up when I trained it to the max. No I did not train the stronger barely at all. Always lets sets and even the same or less reps with the same weight.

And another thing. Your arms are massive, you don’t even have the big of a difference at a half inch. But since your big, you have muscle to work with and i would try those isolations. A newbie that has no mass could probably push thru this by adding some mass then seeing if he’s equal.

It’s all about favoring a side. Everyone has strong and weak sides. Different size muscles. Even the best. Even Arnolds arms and biceps weren’t exact. Mine are about 1/4 inch off. Mine were an inch. As long as I can stay within 1/2 inch, i’m fine with the indifference.

[quote]Go heavy fool wrote:
And another thing. Your arms are massive, you don’t even have the big of a difference at a half inch. But since your big, you have muscle to work with and i would try those isolations. A newbie that has no mass could probably push thru this by adding some mass then seeing if he’s equal.

It’s all about favoring a side. Everyone has strong and weak sides. Different size muscles. Even the best. Even Arnolds arms and biceps weren’t exact. Mine are about 1/4 inch off. Mine were an inch. As long as I can stay within 1/2 inch, i’m fine with the indifference.[/quote]

Well, I think the inner head of my left bicep is a bit bigger and is making up some of the difference. (I worked as a welder in Germany one summer and used my left arm a ton to grab and move the steel reinforcement forms.) Playing guitar only reinforces this, I think. So, the tris are probably more like 3/4" different. I mean, it’s really noticeable. I’ll start with this this week and will post an update in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, they’ll be within 1/4 inch then.

Thanks again everyone!
Mike