Thursday, March 6, 2014

Training to Prevent Muscle Imbalance

Hop on one leg. Do a single leg deadlift. Try a single arm overhead tricep press.

Adding uni-lateral moves to your workout can prevent injury. Studies found that the non-dominant limb tires faster during exercise, affecting your coordination. This may put stress on ligaments surrounding your joints and lead to strains.

When you work your weaker side on it's own, your stronger side can't pitch in. Single-leg jumps, single leg squats, and one-arm curls can help prevent muscle imbalances between the two sides. Balanced muscles safely perform functional movements such as lifting a child or carrying a heavy box.

Another recent study demonstrated that unilateral plyometrics improved performance more quickly than using both legs. When your center of gravity is askew, additional muscle fibers kick in to stabilize you, leading to faster gains. The body is required to recruit core muscles and secondary movers to complete the movement. This is a great option to maximize limited workout minutes.

Uni-lateral movements are an important addition to your workout. Try incorporating a few this week!


  1. This is great information! I am having some hip pain and not sure if it is my hamstring pulling because the knee on the same side aches too. I really felt it running this morning. I'm pretty sure it's my non dominant side. I'm going to try working that side by itself.

  2. I'm so glad to know you are out running. Yes, give that uni-lateral workout a try. Remember to stretch really well especially after running. You might want to massage with the foam roller, too. If the pain continues, it's always good to check with your doctor or physical therapist. Keep up the good work!

  3. I can do double the weight for biceps than I can for triceps. Does this mean there is an imbalance or is it normal?

    1. This is normal. The bicep muscle is bigger than the tricep muscle. The tricep is often the assisting muscle in many upper body exercises but not often the primary mover. The bicep is the primary mover in everyday functions such as moving a chair or carrying a child so it grows stronger, contracting more often. We spend time focusing on triceps in our workouts for muscle balance and to prevent those wiggly underarms!