Uneven chest muscle development? We have the solution!
Having uneven pecs is a common problem among fitness enthusiasts. So, let’s see what you can do in the gym to fix it!
Can you guess the one thing that no bodybuilder can fix about themselves? Let us give you a hint: genetics. You better get used to the idea. No matter how much and how well you train, there’s no way you can change what you inherited from your parents, be it the shape of your muscles or their place of origin and insertion.
Muscles are not completely symmetrical, but do not fret if you notice unevenness in your pecs, because there are ways to fix this! While you can’t change the genetics of muscles, you can increase their size by using dumbbells. But hold on for a minute before you get too excited: such exercises are easy to mess up. An incorrect workout routine may lead to asymmetrical muscle development, meaning one of your pectoral muscles will be larger than the other.
If you notice uneven muscle development in your pecs and you’ve been working out for a while, this might cheer you up: there are ways of improving this!
Forget about bars
Use single-arm dumbbells instead of bars. If your workout involves using bars (especially bars that move on a fixed track) chances are that one of your pectoral muscles takes over the work from the other. In the majority of cases, you won’t even notice this. Only other people – looking at you from a certain angle – will be able to warn you that you are holding the bar slightly unevenly during the exercise. And if you are working out on a Smith machine, only you will be able to feel if one side is trying to take over control.
So here’s the solution: forget about bars, and only use dumbbells or machines on which your arms move separately, on different tracks. Try to follow these guidelines not just on chest day, but every time you work out.
However surprising this may sound at first, you need to train asymmetrically in order to have a more symmetrical body.
Once you switch to single-arm dumbbell exercises, you will immediately notice if one side of your body is stronger than the other. For example, if you were able to do more reps on the left side (“more” can even mean just an extra half rep!) than on the right, you need to train asymmetrically. (Note: the example only works if you do the exercise first on the left, then repeat it on the right side.)
Hold only one dumbbell while doing bench presses. You may notice that there is no strong brain-muscle connection, meaning you don’t feel the muscle so well, therefore you can’t “pump” it so efficiently either. For this reason, it’s important that the arm you are not using doesn’t just hang next to your body. Feel free to “hold onto yourself” while doing bench presses to keep your balance. While working with smaller weights, you can even put your hand on the muscle being worked to establish the brain-muscle connection and to have a better connection to your chest muscles.
Although your workout will be longer, your body will reward the time you invest in it and become more proportionate.
If you need a little extra help
If you want to achieve improvement in the symmetry of your body as soon as possible, add some extra workouts. For instance, if you had a complete chest workout on Thursday – and you’re past the 72-hour recovery time, which is especially important in the case of pectoral muscles – do one or two series of reps from a chest exercise on your weaker side. Be careful with this technique though: you don’t want to go overboard with it.
It may happen that none of the solutions above bring about the desired effect, even after a year of hard work – in that case, it’s possible that your problem can only be solved by a neurologist (e.g. in the case of neurological damage) or a massage therapist.
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