When most of us begun our calisthenics journey, the beginning was all about trying to get results and/or improve as soon as possible. This might mean mastering the basics, crushing personal records, and/or noticing a significant improvement in our physiques. While this is the norm and it is perfectly okay, this initial stage often leads to an issue known as muscle imbalances. Without going into detail, muscle imbalances are a very common issue to go through, and most individuals trying to improve their physique with resistance training end up experiencing some form of this issue.
That being said, this issue, whilst annoying can be fixed and I’m going to show you how! More specifically, in this article, I’m going to go over what muscle imbalances are, how they are caused, and most importantly, how you can fix your muscle imbalances with calisthenics, so keep on reading!
What are muscle imbalances?
Upon first hearing of this issue, you may end up thinking it is some kind of complex and dangerous condition caused by too much working out, you couldn’t be more wrong. Muscle imbalances, to put this simply, is an imbalance in the symmetry of the muscular appearance.
An example of this might be a noticeably bigger bicep on your left arm when compared to your right. Or a more shapely and defined quad on your right leg when compared to your leg. Any noticeable differences in opposing muscles, generally speaking, can be considered a muscular imbalance.
After now learning what muscle imbalances are, you are probably confused as to how you may have developed them and that would be perfectly within reason. So, on that note, allow me to explain just how they are caused.
What causes muscle imbalances?
Muscles imbalances can occur in many individuals for a wide array of reasons – (not just from exercise). However, since those that exercise are more inclined to inspect their physique in more detail, those who exercise tend to report more imbalances than those that do not. Nevertheless, there are a wide array of causes for this issue, let’s go over some.
#1 A poorly executed workout
Let me emphasize this by stating that one singular workout alone cannot cause this issue but numerous. But yes, as you might’ve guessed, your training efforts can play a role in this as the same stimuli is not always placed on each correlating muscle group during a workout. This, when occurring over time, can cause one muscle to be larger and/or smaller than another.
#2 Everyday work-life and activities
This pointer will most likely require more attention as the things we generally do every day are not always accounted for. In this case, certain jobs, tasks, and/or activities may be responsible for your muscular imbalances. An example of this may include a job that has you constantly using your right arm and not your left; such as a desk job.
#3 Your more dominant side
It is no secret that we all have a more dominant side; with the most common being the right side. It is, however, not as commonly thought of as a reason for muscle imbalances, and yet, it is. To put this into perspective, during an intense training session, you are more likely to lift and/or press with more force coming from your dominant side than your weaker side. Over time, this can cause numerous muscular imbalances.
As you can now see, your muscular imbalances could be caused for a wide array of reasons and it doesn’t have to be directly related to working out.
However, just because it may not be related to working out, that does not mean an effective training plan cannot fix your issue. So, if you are ready to finally fix this issue that has been bugging you for so long, keep on reading as this next section will cover how you can fix your imbalances with calisthenics!
How to fix your muscle imbalances with calisthenics
Before we delve into this matter, I do want to emphasize that regardless of which techniques you utilize to try and fix your muscle imbalances, it will take time. This kind of issue cannot be fixed overnight, it will take consistency and several months at the very least. Now that that is out of the way, let’s delve into our first technique to fix this issue.
Perhaps the most common way to fix muscular imbalances is to switch from fixed movements to freer movements or unilateral movements. For those of you who don’t know, unilateral movements consist of workouts that focus on free weight sources in each hand rather than a fixed bar or workout equipment.
An example of this would be to switch from using a standard bar in the pull-up to using gymnastic rings instead. This switch makes it much hard for your dominant side to take over allowing for a more equalized intensity.
Prioritise the weaker side
Chances are, your weaker less dominant side is the side that carries slightly less muscle than the opposing side. Because of this, extra effort must be put in to strengthen and enlarge the weaker and smaller muscles. To apply this effectively, you can try adding one additional set to your weaker side with every workout. This would be best done at the very end and with time, this could work very well at balancing things out.
Focus on your form
While this tip can be very easily applied, it is perhaps the most crucial as poor form could be the initial reason for your muscular imbalances. Listen, I get it, form is often not a very prioritized aspect of training in the earlier years.
That being said, experienced individuals in this area of fitness often end up prioritizing form in their later years for these very reasons. To focus on this as soon as you can, will put you at an advantage, and in this case, it will help prevent and even fix your muscle imbalances with calisthenics
Good luck everyone, train safely!