T Nation

Uneven Chest

Hi guys. I’ve been lifting now for 2 years, and I have a problem with my chest development.

See, my left chest looks really good and developed but my right is noticebly smaller and lacks mass. Sometimes I get really conscious of this because I think it really shows.

Also, my left shoulder, left trap, and right bicep, and right lat are bigger than their respective counterparts. I think this is due to me having slight scoliosis.

I’ve tried a lot of things to remedy this; I’ve tried focusing on dumbells, doing supersets, varying my workouts, etc.

When I bench its very hard for me to get my right pec pumped, whereas my left one gets a good pump without me even trying. Is this a postural thing? I try my best to concentrate and let my right pec do the work in lifting the weight.

Any suggestions on how I can correct these imbalances? I’d really appreciate it.

[quote]crimsonking wrote:
Hi guys. I’ve been lifting now for 2 years, and I have a problem with my chest development.

See, my left chest looks really good and developed but my right is noticebly smaller and lacks mass. Sometimes I get really conscious of this because I think it really shows.

Also, my left shoulder, left trap, and right bicep, and right lat are bigger than their respective counterparts. I think this is due to me having slight scoliosis.

I’ve tried a lot of things to remedy this; I’ve tried focusing on dumbells, doing supersets, varying my workouts, etc.

When I bench its very hard for me to get my right pec pumped, whereas my left one gets a good pump without me even trying. Is this a postural thing? I try my best to concentrate and let my right pec do the work in lifting the weight.

Any suggestions on how I can correct these imbalances? I’d really appreciate it.
[/quote]

Use unilateral movements, if you do a 1-handed DB bench press with your right arm your right pec will work whether it wants to or not.

Also tried doing unilateral movements but for some reason, it feels like my left one does more work; it feels more sore, more pumped, etc. I also feel that my left pec experiences more tension than the right one during the lifts.

practice makes perfect, you have to develop better neural pathways for the muscle to contract, practice practice practice. stop working the left pec and just concentrate on the right.

also practice squeezing. maybe go out and get an extra dumbell for home, and lie on the edge of the bed and work on contracting the pec and 1 arm dbl bench for a couple sets throughout the day if u have time. or in the morning when you wake up, and before u go to bed.

[quote]crimsonking wrote:
Also tried doing unilateral movements but for some reason, it feels like my left one does more work; it feels more sore, more pumped, etc. I also feel that my left pec experiences more tension than the right one during the lifts.[/quote]

mind muscle connection problem anyone? when you get to your unilateral movement for your weak side, really concentrate on the muscle you want and keep tension the whole way through. You just really need to try to activate this muscle.

Thanks for the input. It just feels incredibly frustrating. Anyway, I’ll try focusing on trying to really recruit the muscle and make it contract. So do I just employ unilateral movements on both sides and increase weights even though the right side is lagging?

Do you think i should focus more on the right side, ie more sets/reps, or should I just do and equal amount? Any other stuff you guys could suggest, like trying negatives maybe?

[quote]crimsonking wrote:
Thanks for the input. It just feels incredibly frustrating. Anyway, I’ll try focusing on trying to really recruit the muscle and make it contract. So do I just employ unilateral movements on both sides and increase weights even though the right side is lagging?

Do you think i should focus more on the right side, ie more sets/reps, or should I just do and equal amount? Any other stuff you guys could suggest, like trying negatives maybe?[/quote]

match your strong side to what your weaker side can do

[quote]crimsonking wrote:
Thanks for the input. It just feels incredibly frustrating. Anyway, I’ll try focusing on trying to really recruit the muscle and make it contract. So do I just employ unilateral movements on both sides and increase weights even though the right side is lagging?

Do you think i should focus more on the right side, ie more sets/reps, or should I just do and equal amount? Any other stuff you guys could suggest, like trying negatives maybe?[/quote]

Use the unilateral movements to bring your right side up to par. How you do this would depend on how big of a difference there is, if small you could add more reps for the right side, if big you could concentrate completely on the right hand side for a while.

Is your right hand side weaker and smaller or just smaller?

yea i have basicly the same problem but opposite my left pec is a little smaller. i basicly dropped barbell movements for like 6 months and just did only dumbells and some hammer strength machines where each arm works independeptly.

also i was doing bodypart splits for a while and i would start with a isolation movement like concentration curls or something so that each arm got its share of work before moving onto compound movements. this helped but i think full body workouts work better to help fix this imbalance.

also stretching helped me alot

I have problems firing my left VM. What my physical therapist told me to do back in the day to improve the mind-muscle connection was to brush the muscle with my fingers just before trying to fire it. You need skin-on-skin for this to work.

I have a similar problem, the right side of my back is stronger and bigger than my left side, but my right shoulder and pec are weaker than my left. I blame this on 13 years of baseball, 7 of them being a pitcher. I wasn’t allowed to life heavy in high school and was shuffled away from overhead presses and most shoulder work except very light weights.

I’m afraid if I try to work the left side of my back to catch up, my left bicep will outgrow my right, and if I work unilaterlly my right pec and shoulder, my right tri will outgrow my left.

Should I not worry about it that much?

[quote]IQ wrote:
crimsonking wrote:
Thanks for the input. It just feels incredibly frustrating. Anyway, I’ll try focusing on trying to really recruit the muscle and make it contract. So do I just employ unilateral movements on both sides and increase weights even though the right side is lagging?

Do you think i should focus more on the right side, ie more sets/reps, or should I just do and equal amount? Any other stuff you guys could suggest, like trying negatives maybe?

Use the unilateral movements to bring your right side up to par. How you do this would depend on how big of a difference there is, if small you could add more reps for the right side, if big you could concentrate completely on the right hand side for a while.

Is your right hand side weaker and smaller or just smaller?[/quote]

Smaller. Only difference is I dont get that pump on the right side.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
I have problems firing my left VM. What my physical therapist told me to do back in the day to improve the mind-muscle connection was to brush the muscle with my fingers just before trying to fire it. You need skin-on-skin for this to work.[/quote]

Really? That sounds realy interesting, I’ll give it a shot.

this would be a great topic for someone like Eric Cressey or mike roberston to do an article on. im sure there are a huge number of people with side to side imbalances

[quote]crimsonking wrote:
IQ wrote:
crimsonking wrote:
Thanks for the input. It just feels incredibly frustrating. Anyway, I’ll try focusing on trying to really recruit the muscle and make it contract. So do I just employ unilateral movements on both sides and increase weights even though the right side is lagging?

Do you think i should focus more on the right side, ie more sets/reps, or should I just do and equal amount? Any other stuff you guys could suggest, like trying negatives maybe?

Use the unilateral movements to bring your right side up to par. How you do this would depend on how big of a difference there is, if small you could add more reps for the right side, if big you could concentrate completely on the right hand side for a while.

Is your right hand side weaker and smaller or just smaller?

Smaller. Only difference is I dont get that pump on the right side.
[/quote]

That’s interesting, maybe you could try something like pre-fatigue. An example would be doing 1 arm db bench presses with your right arm to get some blood into the pec before each of your sets with 2 handed db bench presses, it would force your right hand side to work harder when using your working weight.

Just a thought.

Here is a quote from an article by Ian King which featured quite a few unilateral movements. It’s from 1999 so maybe not “current”…

? Follow the weak-side rule. Always work the weak side first. Don’t do more weight or reps on the strong side than the weak side can handle. If the imbalance is between, say, 10-20%, look to do an extra set on the weak side. If the imbalance is between, say, 20-50%, consider doing only a total of 25% of the reps on the strong side compared to the weak side. If the imbalance is greater than 50%, don’t do any reps on the strong side until the imbalance is reduced.

I agree with the article idea. I am also experiencing the same problem. I have been lifting for over 5 years and the last year or so I have noticed that I have a greater pump in my left pec and it also is growing larger than my right. I have tried several ways to correct the problem, but no success.

It is so frustrating because I feel that I am not getting the most out of my workout and it is hard to stay focused. It is great to finally see others discussing this topic. I have recently tried to focus on unilateral chest training with my right side only and i think it is starting to correct the problem. Keep the posts coming!