I have a problem that needs some serious correcting. I'm at least a 1/4" smaller on body parts(i.e. arm, upper thigh (up to 1/2" smaller), calf) on my left side. How would one fix this type of symmetry problem, more isolation movements with more weight on the unsymmetrical side, or more reps on the unsymmetrical side with the same amount of weight for both sides? Any ideas? Please help!!
improve your form; asymmetry might be corrected by working on the compound lifts with less weight and pushing equally with both sides...
I would bet money that the reason you are asymmetrical is bad form or genetics. Adding an extra set or 2 of unilateral movements for the weaker side (@ end of workouts)may also help get you a feel for the muscle, and learn to use the weaker side more.
Start with the kinectic chain. I had the same problem for years until I starting reading the articles at T-mag. The way you stand when you squat, curl, or military press can affect the way your body develops. I tried several things to correct my imbalance such as working the smaller side harder and maintaining strict form but after that failed I started troubleshooting with the help of T-Mag and eventually went to the podiatrist. He examined the way I walk and I found out at almost 30 years old, that I had a leg 3/4 inch shorter than the other. My entire musculature had adapted to compensate for the imbalance so no matter what I did in the gym I couldn't change it. He didn't want to "correct" this because it was my body's natural biomechanics but when I explained how the imbalance was becoming more pronounced because of my lifting he agreed to write a prescription for a 1/4" heel lift to be placed in the shoe of my shorter leg. Over a few months my imbalance lessened, although not perfect my asymmetry became much more subtle. One of the things I had to do in the mean time was stand with my right foot(the longer leg) turned slightly out when performing standing exercises such as squats. This leveled out my stance and was my natural foot postition. In the past, when squating I had forced my foot in to stand the way everybody else does but this forced the right side of my body to be taller than the left and really screwed up my symmetry. The point of this personal account is to show you sometimes you have to troubleshoot your body from the ground up beginning with the start of the kinectic chain, the feet. The article that started me out on the right track was Booming Biceps ? Part I & II
How to unleash your core strength
to achieve explosive arm development
by Don Alessi. After you read these articles you can see how one weakness or imbalance in one area can affect everything else down the chain.
I'd also like to know if anyone has insight on this, especially with regard to the legs, since it seems that many t-workouts emphasize big movements (squat,dead) that work both sides simultaneously.