If one of your arms, one side of your chest or your lats differs from the other, you need these exercises!
The Asymmetry Cure: Unilateral Movements
Don’t be put off by the fancy term. “Unilateral movement” means nothing but working the two sides of your body independently.
When you do exercises where both sides work at the same time, the weaker side only “assists” the stronger side. When each works on its own, you finish the set when the weaker side can’t go on, even though the stronger side still could.
That is the key to getting rid of your muscle asymmetry and imbalances.
Below I give you examples for such exercises sorted by muscle groups. They’re not all there are, but these in my opinion work best to address muscle asymmetry.
Imbalance Target: Chest
For the chest it’s as easy as 1,2, 3: you need dumbbell presses instead of barbell presses. Keep a close eye on your form or you might end up cheating on the weaker side to keep going!
Whatever you, don’t do unilateral dumbbell flyes. In my opinion that’s introducing some really weird mechanics into your movements.
Imbalance Target: Back / Lats
Nothing more ungainly than a lat spread and on one side you look someone clipped off half of your wing, right? Dumbbell rows to the rescue!
An alternative is the mixed-grip pull-up. The hand on the side where your back is weaker faces away from you, the other toward you.
Imbalance Target: Upper Arms – Biceps
For biceps asymmetry there’s of course the old classic dumbbell curl. Again, like with the dumbbell presses, make sure you use good form especially on the weaker side!
Imbalance Target: Upper Arms – Triceps
If you notice differences in triceps size, go for kickbacks. They’re a very good triceps isolation when done correctly.
Imbalance Target: Forearms
If one of your forearms looks like you stole it from Popeye and the other resembles a drumstick, try reverse dumbbell curls. Contrary to the video below, do one side after another. That way you concentrate better on how each side does.
Imbalance Target: Front Shoulders
The premier exercise to take care of asymmetries in the front delts is the alternating front raise.
Imbalance Target: Side Shoulders
For evening them out, the side delts benefit most from lying side raises. Doing them on the floor stabilizes the whole movement and you are less prone to cheat.
Imbalance Target: Rear Shoulders
The rear delts you should work with rear delt rows. A great rear shoulder compound exercise if there ever was one!
Imbalance Target: Upper Leg
To even out the quads some people do one-legged squats, but to me that doesn’t seem very safe when you train at home and by yourself. You should rather make a beginner exercise of mine more difficult by strapping on a backpack: the get-up.
Imbalance Target: Lower Leg
Most of us wear shorts in summer and who wants to have their calves look like distant cousins at best? Training each calf on its own via calf raises takes care of it. In the video I train both legs at the same time; you should train one after another, with the side taking a rest just dangling in front of your platform.
One Important Note!
All these exercises take care of muscle asymmetry due to you having a stronger / weaker side of the body or from having trained one side more than the other!
They don’t take care of asymmetry that’s due to how your muscles are attached inside your body. When your abs don’t line up perfectly, for example.