T Nation

Symetry: unevenitis

This addressed to all T-mag staff and anyone who has experienced what I will described.

My concern is unevenitis in the worst of areas: my pecs. I have a pec that is much more developped than the other, the problem is severe enough that I am writing for advice. In case you are wondering how big is the problem, let’s just say that one pec looks like I have been working on it and the other almost not at all. Ever since it became apparent to me that I was suffering from severe unevenitis in my chest I have seized using bars (only dumbells now), and I am attempting to do extra sets on the weaker side.

In my frustration with this problem, I noticed something that might be greatly contributing to this problem: my tricep on my underdevelopped side is much stronger than the side on which my pec is very well developped. So I now superset my pecs with my stronger tricep in hopes of tiring it a bit and reducing its ability to take over pressing exercises which might be making it impossible to stimulate my pecs equally. Does this make any sense? Does anyone have a similar problem? Are any exercises better at correcting this problem? Any helpful feedback is much appreciated.


this is a pretty interesting question but im unsure what you mean about the supersets you do with the stonger tricep. Does that mean you dont workout the weak tricep? This could make the problem worse. I’ve probably misunderstood your question but hopefully someone else can shed light on how to bring the other pec up to scratch.

From the sound of it, the imbalance is caused by benching. One pec can afford to be weak because the strong triceps make up for it. I would recommend that you do dumbbell benches, making sure that the forearms stay perpendicular to the ground at all times. That would take the triceps out of the equation altogether. Also, if you do decide to continue barbell benching, make sure that the bar stays centered on your body. Also, make sure that your elbow positions are symmetrical. I would venture to guess, that the strong triceps side has the elbows close to the body, while the strong pecs side has the elbows flaring out to the side, while you are benching. Have someone critique your form while you are benching, if you cannot monitor yourself. I hope that helps.

I don’t think that prefatiguing your stong tricep is the way to go, but I like that you have a battle plan. I think that you should do focus work on your weak pec and weak tricep (opposite parts of the body, right?). Every work out, focus super good on technique, teach your brain to do it right, and keep the barbell movements light (100% brain power though).

How to focus? Negatives! You don't sound like you're unevenly weak, just unevenly developed. Negative flies {various grips} and negative pushdowns {various grips}. Those will help increase the mass at those locations.

As well, if your technique is spot-on, you should really see a doctor to make sure that you don’t have nerve problems … you actually might have some problem that prevents one tricep from firing properly (the weak one). I’d say it’s more likely that you have a problem with the tricep than the pec (nerve wise) … and that the stong tricep seems to be limiting your pec growth (like mine do … they always give 100% when I do pressing movements, and I find it tough to put enough load on the bar that stresses the pecs without overloading my triceps)


Maybe T-Staff should do an article about this topic. So many people out there have not only uneven chests, but many other body parts too!(Testicles not incuded -lol)

This is actually not that uncommon.I am convinced a major cause of this is the tendancy for a lot of guys to lean to one side on the bench press during the last few difficult reps of a set to lever the weight up.On one side the pecs are in a more favourable line of pull,on the other side it is the delts and tris.
Get someone to watch you bench to see if this occurs.If it does you need to go back to the drawing board form-wise.I would use dumbells and concentrate on developing mirror image form-elbows should be at the same angle,shoulders should be at the same level,chest should be parallel to the ground all the way through.Keep both shoulder blades pressed back and down against the bench,similar to what Dave Tate recommends.You need to let the weaker pec dictate the weight.If you cannot complete a rep without breaking this correct form you are either lifting too heavy or not focusing intensely enough.
I would be reluctant to recommend bench pressing for one side only because without any technique correction this could merely exacerbate the problem.Maybe an isolation movement for the smaller side,followed by bilateral bench pressing in the above manner would work though.
I also remember reading an article by Charles Glass years ago,he recommended for people with such imbalances to ‘put their mind inside the weaker muscle’,in other words, really focus on the less developed side,learn to feel it working.
Hope you get on top of this,be patient,good luck.

Thanks to everyone replying, the tips are great and hopefully I’ll get to the bottom of this.

To Tim and TC: how about writing an article about this topic, seems to me like a lot of T-men would benefit from this.