How to Fix Muscle Imbalance In 90 Days?

Who doesn’t have muscle imbalance?

Even Flex Wheeler, the most symmetrical bodybuilder of all time, had them.

A left bicep that’s bigger than the right one. 

A more bulging right side delt than the left side. 

Even worse … A more extended left lat than the right one or a popping right pectoral muscle that’s non-existent on the left chest!

You enjoy looking at yourself in the gym’s mirror on one side but when you turn, your self-esteem takes a hit!

Funny. I know. But you know what’s even funnier?

That popping right chest or bulging right delt is the weaker side! 

So if I train them more I could risk further overdevelopment and even more muscular imbalance! 

So what’s the solution? Are muscular imbalances avoidable? And what causes them?

What Causes Muscle Imbalance?

The number one reason for muscular imbalance, both size and strength imbalance, is ….

Wait for it….


That’s right. I know you wanted a different answer but trust me, the audience who come to this website are mature enough to know that their workout is pretty symmetrical and there is nothing specifically wrong with the way they train.

With that being said, the following factors have a small chance of impacting your muscular imbalance.

  • Bad posture. The way you sit, sleep, or walk needs to be adjusted.
  • Improper form of lifting. More range of motion on one side than the other.
  • Asymmetrical workout. More sets or reps on one side (when you starting out lifting).
  • Muscle tightness. This is common for experienced lifters.

If you have just started, I recommend working with an experienced trainer to teach you the correct form.

Can You Fix Muscle Imbalance?

There is good news and bad news.

Let me start with the bad news to get it out the way.

If you are looking to fix a size-related muscular imbalance, i.e. one side that’s smaller in size than the other, then the answer is…

You CAN’T, unfortunately.

As I mentioned above, this is a 99% genetics issue, and attempting to fix it by workout will just not do it.

With that in mind, the only thing I would recommend to improve size muscular imbalance (the keyword here is “improve” rather than “fix”) is…

Deep tissue massage! 

That’s right. Deep tissue work can eliminate muscle tightness that causes a short range of motion and hinders your mobility. Over time, when tightness built up, it could impact the growth of a particular muscle group and lead to imbalance. 

Now, while this is certainly good news, the better news is there is a fix to the strength-related muscle imbalance.

Here are five tips to do it:

1- Incorporate unilateral movements with dumbbells or cables. 
2- Start your workout with the weaker side - not the stronger. 
3- Let the weaker side dictate the number of repetitions for the stronger one.
4- Go beyond failure for one or more sets of exercises performed by the weaker side.
5- When necessary, you might want to do an additional set or two for the weaker side.

Again, notice that I mentioned, “weaker” and “stronger”.

Not “smaller” and “bigger”. 

Does this mean the size imbalance will not improve? 

It could, over a long period of time.

But it won’t disappear. 

Focus on strength imbalances, instead, since this is more under control and can be improved.

Now I’ll go over some particular exercises for how to fix the imbalance for each body part.

Workout Program to Fix Muscle Imbalance In 90 days

Here is a workout program to implement as part of your routine. This program focuses only on improving muscular imbalance and should not be sufficient for a full workout. 

In all of the following workout, I’ll assume your left side is the weaker side. 

Each exercise will be done for 4 – 5 working sets, i.e. not including the warmup sets.

Fix Muscle Imbalance In Chest


  • Flat dumbbell press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Unilateral cable crossover

Let’s take the dumbbell presses as an example:

  • Pick two dumbbells and lay on the flat bench.
  • Press the two dumbbells together up for 1 rep.
  • Now go down with the dumbbell on the left side, while keeping the right dumbbell up (not fully locked).
  • Start pressing with the left side (the weaker one) first for as many reps as you can while holding the right dumbbell up. Say you did 12 reps.
  • Now immediately reverse sides. Keep holding the left dumbbell up while pressing with the right side for 12 reps. Not more. That’s the key.

Remember, the weaker side has to set the number of reps for the stronger one.

Fix Muscle Imbalance in Shoulders


  • Dumbbell presses.
  • Side lateral raises (dumbbells or cable).
  • Rear delt raises (dumbbells, cable, or reverse pec deck).

As for raises, it’s straightforward.

Now, the way you do shoulder dumbbell presses is the same as you do bench presses above.

  • Pick two dumbbells, sit on a chair or bench and rest your back against the ‘s pad for better stability.
  • Press the two dumbbells up together for 1 rep.
  • Now go down with the dumbbell on the left side, while keeping the right dumbbell up (not fully locked).
  • Start pressing with the left shoulder first for as many reps as you can while holding the right dumbbell up. Say you did 15 reps.
  • Now immediately reverse sides. Keep holding the left dumbbell up while pressing with the right dumbbell for 15 reps. Not more!

Fix Muscle Imbalance in Back/Lats


  • One-arm dumbbell rows.
  • One-arm machine or cable rows.
  • One-arm lat pulldown (replace the long handle with a single-arm handle, as in the picture below).
fix Muscle imbalance single_hand_cable_right
fix muscle imbalance lat_pulldown_handle_wrong

Fix Muscle Imbalance in Biceps


  • Bicep curls.
  • Hammer curls with dumbbells.
  • Preacher/concentration curls with dumbbells.

Here is an example:

Again, I’m assuming your left bicep is weaker than your right one for the sake of this example.

  • Pick two dumbbells and get ready for bicep curls.
  • Start curling with the left bicep while holding the dumbbell on the right side down. 
  • Do as many reps as you can on the left bicep. Say you did 15.
  • Now, start curling with the right bicep and do no more than 15 reps.

If you feel you want to go for an additional one or two sets for the left side, do it.

Fix Muscle Imbalance In Triceps


  • One arm cable pushdown.
  • Skull crushers with one dumbbell at a time.
  • Behind the head dumbbell tricep extension (my favorite exercise for the long head).

Apply the same five principles highlighted above. 

Fix Muscle Imbalance in Legs

The best exercises to perform in order to strengthen your weaker leg are:

  • Unilateral leg presses.
  • One leg extension.
  • One leg curls (for hamstrings).
  • One leg calf raises (for calves).

While you might want to try one leg squat with a dumbbell or a kettlebell, step up, or walking lunges, I found them to be less efficient as you really cannot increase the weight that much.

Follow this program for 90 days and you should notice an improvement in strength imbalances.