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Training For Symmetry

Symmetry in bodybuilding is something that’s often overlooked, but if you’re serious about competing then that oversight will cost you greatly in terms of the judges scores. Even if you’re not, looking lop sided is not only fairly unattractive, but it’s also somewhat unhealthy if it results in uneven tension on your joints. As though that wasn’t enough incentive, in the large range of bilateral movements that use both sides of your body equally (which includes bench presses, squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and more) being a-symmetrical will unnecessarily limit how much you can lift and make you more prone to dropping it.

So how can you fix that problem? Well chances are you already have one side stronger than the other, tense your biceps out by your sides and take a look in the mirror – one has a higher peek than the other right? Well now’s the time to deal with the problem, for if you don’t it will create a vicious circle that will slowly lead to you becoming more and more lop-sided as you find you consistently lift more one side with better form.

So to tackle the issue you can try one of several methods to ensure you regain balance depending on how severe the problem is. The first port of call is to simply change round the order in which you train each arm on your unilateral movements. This has more of an impact than you know as by the time you reach the second arm you will be tireder and so might well use worse technique. Furthermore, going first with your weaker arm means you can be careful not to do additional reps on you stronger side (rather than trying and failing to replicate the reps in your weak arm). To ensure you use good technique and don’t cheat on either side try and isolate the movement, by using a preacher bench for bicep curls for example (the bench that rests under your arm so preventing you from swinging it). If you find this isn’t enough to close the gap you can even consider using a slightly heavier weight on your weaker side.

For bilateral movements using a barbell, wherever possible try replacing the barbell for two dumbbells, meaning that both arms or legs have to be exerting the same amount of pressure rather than one side making up for the other.

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