T Nation

Uneven Arms


#1

My right arm measures at 14.5 inches, and my left arm measures at 15.2. I don't really notice a difference in strength, but I can def. tell the difference in size when my sleeves are rolled up. Any tips on evening out? I know it's probably cause i jerk too much with my right, but that'd take forever to even out with my left.


#2

It because you are right handed. It’s something that happens in everyone. There is a distinct difference in left and right arm however, I just train and don’t really worry about how they complement one another.


#3

[quote]Fuzzyapple wrote:
It because you are right handed. It’s something that happens in everyone. There is a distinct difference in left and right arm however, I just train and don’t really worry about how they complement one another.

[/quote]

If he is right-handed…that would be strange that his left measurement is higher than his right. I would think it should be the other way around.

My arms were about an inch apart for a while (R > L)…but I just started doing extra reps/sets on my L only and the gap has narrowed significantly. I’d give that a shot.

Bango


#4

I advice you either throw on some extra reps per set on the smaller arm or another set just that arm.


#5

Word from a guy (my doctor) who went to school for 10 years to answer this very question…

Your weak/smaller arm will compensate while your doing reps. Basic principle if you think about it. Your weak arm has to work harder than your strong one therefore, in time they will even out.

I have the same problem


#6

[quote]FatAss2008 wrote:
Word from a guy (my doctor) who went to school for 10 years to answer this very question…

Your weak/smaller arm will compensate while your doing reps. Basic principle if you think about it. Your weak arm has to work harder than your strong one therefore, in time they will even out.

I have the same problem[/quote]

On bilateral movements I would argue the exact opposite. Your body will always choose the path of least resistance. So if I am doing BB curls and my R arm is stronger than my L…my body’s natural tendency may be to use my stronger arm more to help move the load. Thus, the imbalance perpetuates.

Now unilateral movements are a whole different story.

Bango


#7

[quote]jimmybango wrote:
FatAss2008 wrote:
Word from a guy (my doctor) who went to school for 10 years to answer this very question…

Your weak/smaller arm will compensate while your doing reps. Basic principle if you think about it. Your weak arm has to work harder than your strong one therefore, in time they will even out.

I have the same problem

On bilateral movements I would argue the exact opposite. Your body will always choose the path of least resistance. So if I am doing BB curls and my R arm is stronger than my L…my body’s natural tendency may be to use my stronger arm more to help move the load. Thus, the imbalance perpetuates.

Now unilateral movements are a whole different story.

Bango

[/quote]

Hmmm…I think he meant unilateral


#8

[quote]Growing_Boy wrote:
I advice you either throw on some extra reps per set on the smaller arm or another set just that arm. [/quote]

I never really liked this idea, of just doing “some” more work. How can you know how much is enough? 3 extra reps per set? 6 reps? 1 extra set per exercise? 1 extra set in every other workout?

It’s a little unusual that there’s a visually-obvious discrepancy in size without a noticeable discrepancy in strength. Regardless, I’d try switching to a mostly-dumbbell routine for a month or so, and cater to the smaller side with regard to reps and weight.

Basically, you’ll be using mostly unilateral exercises where each arm has to carry it’s share of the load, but you’ll use the same weight for the same sets and reps with both arms. You’re (slightly) larger arm will essentially be put on “maintenance” while your (slightly) smaller arm gets the brunt of the work.

By the way, I checked your profile to see your stats. That’s a heck of a friends list you’ve got going on there. Ha.


#9

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Growing_Boy wrote:
I advice you either throw on some extra reps per set on the smaller arm or another set just that arm.

I never really liked this idea, of just doing “some” more work. How can you know how much is enough? 3 extra reps per set? 6 reps? 1 extra set per exercise? 1 extra set in every other workout?

It’s a little unusual that there’s a visually-obvious discrepancy in size without a noticeable discrepancy in strength. Regardless, I’d try switching to a mostly-dumbbell routine for a month or so, and cater to the smaller side with regard to reps and weight.

Basically, you’ll be using mostly unilateral exercises where each arm has to carry it’s share of the load, but you’ll use the same weight for the same sets and reps with both arms. You’re (slightly) larger arm will essentially be put on “maintenance” while your (slightly) smaller arm gets the brunt of the work.

By the way, I checked your profile to see your stats. That’s a heck of a friends list you’ve got going on there. Ha.[/quote]

Switching to DBs - mostly unilateral is a great move. But I still think doing more work on the smaller arm is important. As for how much work is enough? It’s really no different from one’s overall training philosophy. How do you determine what is enough? 12 sets per bodypart? 15? etc? 4 days a week? 5?

It’s all about trial, error, and evaluation. I’ve focused on a couple extra reps each set for my L bicep and that seems to be all that is needed for me to bridge the gap. My arms used to be upwards of an inch apart, now they’re within 1/4 in. Measure your arms every month or so to see what’s going on.

It’s a little tricky though because you have to remember that most of your arm is triceps, not biceps. So your measurement disparity could be caused by uneven triceps, biceps, or both. So do you do extra work on your smaller side triceps? Maybe…but I don’t do extra work on my L triceps as they look pretty even to me.

At the end of the day, I just realized that your difference is only about 1/2 in…I wouldn’t even fuckin worry about it dude…lol

Bango


#10

Well I’m Right Handed, and it used to be the other way around. I was throwing in 1-2 extra reps for bb curl and tricep kick backs and all of a sudden it grew way bigger.

I always thought of it that I had one arm that was skilled and could perform all of the activities i need to in a day, and i had a big stupid arm that could lift more and hit harder.

I’ve been doing unilateral movements for biceps, but I think there will always be a subconcious urge to not get full range of motion because of the difference in difficulty from arm to arm. With triceps, I don’t really have unilateral movements to perform. I started DoggCrapp (almost finished with my second week) and the sample workout didn’t really include that kind of separate arm exercise.


#11

[quote]jimmybango wrote:
Fuzzyapple wrote:
It because you are right handed. It’s something that happens in everyone. There is a distinct difference in left and right arm however, I just train and don’t really worry about how they complement one another.

If he is right-handed…that would be strange that his left measurement is higher than his right. I would think it should be the other way around.

My arms were about an inch apart for a while (R > L)…but I just started doing extra reps/sets on my L only and the gap has narrowed significantly. I’d give that a shot.

Bango
[/quote]

It appears I cannot tell my left from my right lol. Yes I mean he is left handed. But he says he’s right handed so I am right the first time? Lol


#12

I know nothing about lifting weights fyi, however I was asked about dumbell presses etc etc and my weak arm not able to complete sets. In that situation the extra work done by my weak arm would close the gap.

On a barbell bench press type exercise I could see how the stronger arm would just compensate and perpetuate the cycle.

I love T-Nation and pancakes

and yea… its a 1/2 inch


#13

[quote]FatAss2008 wrote:
I know nothing about lifting weights fyi, however I was asked about dumbell presses etc etc and my weak arm not able to complete sets. In that situation the extra work done by my weak arm would close the gap.

On a barbell bench press type exercise I could see how the stronger arm would just compensate and perpetuate the cycle.

I love T-Nation and pancakes

and yea… its a 1/2 inch[/quote]

Assuming that is you in your avatar…you may want to consider lifting the occasional dumbbell. Imbalance or not


#14

[quote]jimmybango wrote:
FatAss2008 wrote:
I know nothing about lifting weights fyi, however I was asked about dumbell presses etc etc and my weak arm not able to complete sets. In that situation the extra work done by my weak arm would close the gap.

On a barbell bench press type exercise I could see how the stronger arm would just compensate and perpetuate the cycle.

I love T-Nation and pancakes

and yea… its a 1/2 inch

Assuming that is you in your avatar…you may want to consider lifting the occasional dumbbell. Imbalance or not

[/quote]

Lol do a search on google for ‘fat guy at computer’ its a very common picture. I am in no way that huge, just too much extra lovin for my liking


#15

I agree with jimmyBango,

during compound movements with both arms stronger arm usually take major part during work out. doing extra workout for the weaker will compensate work load of that day as weaker arm during compound movement doesn’t participate equally as that of stronger one, it will act as support as majority. doing extra for the weaker doesn’t cause over strain.

As Chad Waterbury said 1. compound movements stimulate faster muscle growth with less fatigue and doing number of sets will increase production of anabolic hormones…

Chris Colucci preferring unilateral movements.in compensating difference…it is not a good advice…doing unilateral movements for long…long periods with dumbbells…doesn’t show progress faster and finally develop faster fatigue, with poor growth rate. that is really bad advice…posting 1000s of posts doesn’t mean know many things it is just arrogance…


#16

[quote]uday0 wrote:
I agree with jimmyBango,

during compound movements with both arms stronger arm usually take major part during work out. doing extra workout for the weaker will compensate work load of that day as weaker arm during compound movement doesn’t participate equally as that of stronger one, it will act as support as majority. doing extra for the weaker doesn’t cause over strain.

As Chad Waterbury said 1. compound movements stimulate faster muscle growth with less fatigue and doing number of sets will increase production of anabolic hormones…

Chris Colucci preferring unilateral movements.in compensating difference…it is not a good advice…doing unilateral movements for long…long periods with dumbbells…doesn’t show progress faster and finally develop faster fatigue, with poor growth rate. that is really bad advice…posting 1000s of posts doesn’t mean know many things it is just arrogance…
[/quote]

I think this dicussion was dead already.

BTW, are you drunk man? Your syntax and semantics baffle me a bit.


#17

Mine are exactly the same.

Left arm looks bigger though, because the muscle bellies are a bit different.


#18

[quote]jimmybango wrote:
FatAss2008 wrote:
Word from a guy (my doctor) who went to school for 10 years to answer this very question…

Your weak/smaller arm will compensate while your doing reps. Basic principle if you think about it. Your weak arm has to work harder than your strong one therefore, in time they will even out.

I have the same problem

On bilateral movements I would argue the exact opposite. Your body will always choose the path of least resistance. So if I am doing BB curls and my R arm is stronger than my L…my body’s natural tendency may be to use my stronger arm more to help move the load. Thus, the imbalance perpetuates.

Now unilateral movements are a whole different story.

Bango

[/quote]

Another idea, which I use, when I do single limb exercises I will start with my weak/smaller side and then when I move to he stronger side I only do as many reps as I did on the weaker side. I have found that it helps even things out. The downside is that you are holding back your strong side until the weak one catches up


#19

[quote]thorax wrote:
I think this dicussion was dead already.[/quote]

The dude has a very peculiar habit of bumping old threads that specifically discuss arm size discrepancies.

[quote]uday0 wrote:
Chris Colucci preferring unilateral movements.in compensating difference…it is not a good advice[/quote]

In my opinion, it’s oodles better (yes, oodles. Deal with it) than your advice from the thread posted above:

[quote]here are some tips i practiced

  1. practicing everyday doing things like daily activities with weak hand like opening doors, washing, cleaning, bathing.etc
  2. practicing single arm exercises with dumbbells with weak hand for 3 weeks, keeping other hand in complete rest.
  3. holding bar with little bias so that more weight towards weak side instead of holding the bar exactly equally in bench press, upright barbell rows, barbel curl…etc with concentration on weaker side while lifting so that this brain automatically concentrates on heavy weight lifting side.

by practicing above 3 techniques in just 3 weeks you will see best results for sure[/quote]

If that’s what you consider good advice, I really don’t know what else to say.

What-huh-what? If you wanted to pay attention, I specifically suggested (in my original post) that the guy switch to “a mostly-dumbbell routine for a month or so.” Four or five weeks of targeted unilateral training to correct a size/strength discrepancy is no different than, for example, spending four or five weeks on a shoulder specialization program for lagging shoulder size.

It absolutely addresses and prioritizes the issue at hand, after which a lifter can transition back to their regular routine. And a “poor growth rate”? Are you trying to say that spending time on a bodypart-specific unilateral exercise will encourage less growth than a bilateral exercise, especially when we already acknowledge that a specific muscle needs more attention?

Buddy, I’ll give you a few minutes to reflect on this and see if you really think that making that statement helps your case in any way, shape, or form.


#20

[quote]flanker6 wrote:
Another idea, which I use, when I do single limb exercises I will start with my weak/smaller side and then when I move to he stronger side I only do as many reps as I did on the weaker side. I have found that it helps even things out. The downside is that you are holding back your strong side until the weak one catches up[/quote]

This is pretty much what I suggested in my first post above (two months ago). Don’t look at it as “holding back” your strong side. Like I said, the stronger/larger side is basically put into maintenance mode, so that in the long-run, you can progress more evenly. That’s actually going to carryover to benefit your other bilateral exercises too, since you won’t have to deal with the discrepancy interrupting your bigger pressing, rowing, etc.