If you work out, you may be looking at your back and notice that one side seems decidedly larger or different from the other. Here is what types of back asymmetry exist and what can be done about them.
The Two Types Of Back Asymmetry
There are two types of asymmetry your back can suffer from:
- the first is caused by muscle pairs being of unequal size, which is most noticeable when it happens to the lats, the large muscles that wrap around your sides.
- the other has its source in a deformation of the spine, called scoliosis.
How To Treat Muscular Back Asymmetry
Our first weapon of choice when faced with muscular back asymmetry is mixed grip pull-ups. You grab the pull-up bar, but instead having both hands facing away or toward you, one is facing away and one is turned toward you:
Another possible way of taking care of it is the dumbbell row exercise. You bend over a chair, rest your knee and hand on it for support, and grab the dumbbell with the free hand:
Important here is that you let the weaker side take the lead, meaning the weaker side dictates how many reps with how much weight you use. This you should continue until both sides are equal in strength again, which likely takes care of any noticeable differences in muscle size.
How To Treat Back Asymmetry From Scoliosis
Unfortunately, there is little you can do about this by yourself. If you are still growing and if the scoliosis is mild, your doctor may recommend a brace, which doesn’t cure it, but can prevent it from getting worse.
If you are an adult, you most likely will have to face surgery, namely a procedure called “spinal fusion”, where two or more of the elements in your spine (the “vertebrae”) are fused together. For more severe cases in teenagers the preferred treatment is installing a rod along the spine, whose length can be adjusted.
When In Doubt, Make Sure
Scoliosis often gets worse over time, therefore, the earlier you do something about it, the better. If you have any reason to believe that you suffer from scoliosis, have it checked by your doctor.
Picture courtesy of “ketrin1407“.