T Nation

Muscle Imbalance Problem


#1

I wrecked my left shoulder pretty bad when i was younger, playing rep hockey and highschool football. Now that I'm lifting again I'm doing everything I can to strengthen it up.

The problem is that for the past month or so I've noticed something that didn't make a lot of sense to me. My left (non dominant) pec is growing larger than my right. Last night I came up with the theory that the reason that would be happening is because when I do presses my left shoulder is likely contributing less than my right shoulder, so my left pec is having to pick up the slack.

Any suggestions what I can do to solve this before it gets any more pronounced?


#2

This post caught my eye. My mind jumped to SHOULDERS!

I have loose shoulder joints - seen doctor - nothing major just my body.

Thing is I'm right-handed but my right shoulder is the weakest (loose joint).

I notice this 'looseness' in my shoulder joint affecting my lifts on pressing movements.

My left pec is slightly bigger like you.

In fact in all pressing movements my left non-dominant side is stronger.

I'm the only one who notices it. You're probably the only person who notices yourself as well. Its just not possible for either side of the human body to get too much out of sync with the other.

There is very little you can really do to solve the problem other then just ...wait for it... strength training!

If it is shoulder instability which is your problem then I reconmend dips as another chest exercise in addition to bench press to build chest and tricep strength. This will carry over onto your bench. And a bigger bench means bigger pecs! Too easy.

On barbell bench lifts you might not notice one side doing more work. Use dumbbells and you'll see one shoulder failing much easier.

Dumbbells will also force you to stablise your shoulder joints more than a barbell and this is what you need to do.

So in summary do these exercises (in order of importantance):

DB Bench
Dips
BB Bench

You could also through in some pure shoulder work. A doctor got me to try some exercises with resistance bands. Didnt do anything for me. My opinion is heavy pressing will ultimately strengthen my shoulders and fix any imbalances.


#3

obv trade in barbell for DB's.... therefore each arm has to carry equal amount of weight.

Cmon man, think before taking the time to post.


#4

You see, I never really understood this. I'm pretty sure the load is evenly distributed with a barbell as well as dumbbells.

The thing is without both lumps of weight not connected by a rigid bar, as with dumbbells, you are going to have to work harder to stablish your shoulder joints so the weight ONLY moves up and down (gets pressed) and does not fall behind your head or to your sides.

I thought it was a good post and a valid question. I didn't know this one year ago myself.


#5

The weight is not evenly distributed if the path you are following favors one arm because the shoulder was hurt.

I had an injury to my left quadricep that makes me favor the right one. when doing squats or deadflits, my right side will try to take over near failure. I usually have to supplement with unilateral movements for the legs.

You may have to alternate some dumbbell movements with your barbell ones.


#6

That was my first thought as well, but I don't think that solves the problem I was describing. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I'm fairly sure my right and left arm are doing the same (or close to) amount of overall work. the problem is that because my LEFT shoulder is messed up, I think the % of the lift being handled by the pec is more than on the right side where my shoulder muscle is chipping into the lift more.

From my understanding the bench press works, tris, pecs and shoulders. Obviously the shoulders do a small amount of the work, but if the right shoulder is doing it's share of the work, and the left isn't then the left pec would likely have to do more work. If my theory is correct, the effect would occur when using db's as well. And seeing as I'm currently using my apartment building's gym where the DB's don't go above 50lbs, that's not really a great option.

I do already do a fair bit of shoulder isolation work, as well as rotator cuff strengthening.

Thanks to all who've responded with helpfull tips.