How Long Does It Take To Fix Muscle Imbalance?

October 25, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “how long does it take to fix muscle imbalance?”. It should be stated from the outset that everyone has muscle imbalances to varying degrees.

How long it takes to correct imbalances will depend on various factors. I will address these in this article. I will also explore the root cause of muscle imbalances – in order to address imbalances you have to know the root causes.

How Long Does It Take To Fix Muscle Imbalance?

How long it takes to fix muscle imbalance will largely depend on how long you have had the muscle imbalance for. One of the biggest causes of muscle imbalances is issues related to posture and movement patterns.

If you have been performing an exercise with faulty mechanics for many years and picked up muscle imbalances, it will take a lot longer to correct and fix these imbalances.

Muscle imbalances that have only become apparent recently are a lot easier to address and resolve. It is crucial to work on your mobility to improve posture and structural integrity.

Learning to perform exercises with solid technique from the outset will also drastically reduce the chances of having imbalances later on down the road.

Root Cause Of Muscle Imbalances

The biggest causes of muscle imbalances are posture issues and faulty mechanics on exercises. People who work a desk job and spend many hours hunched over the computer can do with some shoulder mobility work.

It is important to do exercises and stretches to improve your posture. Especially if you lead a more sedentary lifestyle. Even people who lift weights regularly encounter postural issues.

A good example is the classic gym bro. These people are often seen banging out set after set of bench presses and other pressing movements. However, very often they don’t do enough rowing and rear delt work.

This inevitably leads to a muscular imbalance between the front delts and rear delts. This imbalance is pronounced and results in the shoulders being slumped forward.

Addressing that imbalance is simple, the lifter needs to do more volume on rowing movements to solve this issue. 

Faulty mechanics are the other big cause of muscle imbalances. The body is a complete unit, imbalances in one area can cause problems all over. If for instance, you squat with one foot in front of the other, this will cause imbalances in the hips.

Not only will this reveal itself in the squat but also on other exercises like bench presses. It is important to be aware of small details like this that can cause issues. Filming your workout sets or having someone give you objective feedback can prove invaluable.

Everyone Has Muscle Imbalances

I want to make it clear that everyone has muscle imbalances! Even top level professional bodybuilders do. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously had one bicep noticeably bigger than the other – his right was larger.

If pro bodybuilders with elite genetics have muscle imbalances then it’s safe to say that it is not easy for the vast majority of people to correct their imbalances fully.

It is best to do what you can to correct your muscle imbalances and balance things out. But you should also learn to accept yourself how you are. Striving for absolute perfection can rob you of some joy along the way.
arnold front double biceps

Does The Common Advice Work?

The common advice that you often hear surrounding this topic is to do more dumbbell work and unilateral work.

This doesn’t address the root causes of muscle imbalances. It is true that doing more unilateral work for the weaker side can bring that side up comparatively in strength. 

But it won’t solve the underlying issue fully. In order to really tackle the root cause of the imbalance, you have to correct any faulty mechanics and do more mobility work to improve your posture.

Lighten The Weight

In order to address muscle imbalances caused by performing an exercise with faulty mechanics, you should lighten the weight and work to reinforce proper technique.

On the bench press, if you you find that one arm is coming up a lot faster than the other, you should lighten the load and dial in proper technique.

Be sure to retract your shoulder blades and ensure everything is fully tight. Tuck your elbows in on the way down and push your back into the bench when pressing the weight up.

If you still find that the imbalance persists, you can try to purposely come up with the weaker side first. Over time, if you get used to doing this with lighter weights the imbalance will even itself out.

Improve Mobility

Improving overall mobility will go a long way in correct imbalances. The body works together as an entire chain. If you have any weaknesses they will become apparent when performing many exercises.

Many issues stem from tight hips and you can open up your hips with dedicated mobility work. Yoga can also be really effective for improving your posture and overall mobility. 


Final Thoughts

How long does it take to fix muscle imbalance? This article has delved deep into this topic. Overall it will take longer to fix muscle imbalances that have resulted from many years of inefficient technique on exercises.

It may not be possible in many cases to completely fix imbalances. But you can go a long way to correct them and strengthen weaker areas. If you focus on performing exercises with proper mechanics, it will significantly reduce imbalances.

In addition, it is important to do regular stretching and mobility work. This will improve your posture and also your overall mobility. If you have tight hips it is crucial to put in the time to stretch and do mobility drills to unglue the hip musculature.

I hope you found this article useful, the general prescription of using dumbbells and doing unilateral work doesn’t fully address the root causes of muscle imbalances.

If you have any comments on this topic, please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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