In my – The TRUTH ABout Muscle Imbalances Part 1 and Part 2. I clarified some of the common myths and misconceptions about muscle imbalances. And, exposed you to some smarter, more logical approaches to training clients and athletes with muscle imbalances. . Now, As promised, in this post – its all about Practical training strategies! . I’m going to reveal my Top 5 Ways Guaranteed to alleviate and prevent muscle imbalances! . All the training strategies I’m getting ready to tell you about are simple to understand, easy to apply and can be used safely and effectively with athletes of all levels, in any setting from large group to one on one training. . So, if you want to create a workout that reduces current muscle imbalances, prevents injury and creates more symmetry and improves functional strength – apply these concepts below to every workout you do! .

Coach Nick’s Top 5 Ways to Corrective and Prevent Muscle Imbalances!

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#1. Use Uni-Lateral Exercises

. Unilateral training has become the dominant style of ALL my lifting these days. Why? – because we all have one side that is stronger and more developed than the other! If I spend most of my time performing bilateral movements – I’m just reinforcing those existing imbalances. I may also be putting my athletes at an increased risk of injury! . Many folks would tell you that to progress the loaded squat – you start on two legs (bilateral), progress to a split stance, then to a single leg stance. I however disagree and do almost the opposite. I start everyone with either a loaded split stance or single leg stance long before I ever get them to do a loaded bilateral squat. Keep in mind Im talking about loaded squatting, not unloaded squatting. I use unloaded, bilateral squat patterns with everyone! . Although many folks seem to understand the importance of unilateral training. It seems that this concept is rarely applied to training the upper-body. So don’t forget about your 1 arm rows, 1 arm push ups, and one arm presses! . For more on the benefits of unilateral training check out my article here and Allis article here. .

#2. Write Unbalanced Programs!

. Put simply, when it comes to designing a workout program – Unbalanced bodies need Unbalanced workout Programs! . So, if you are a strong bencher but have no muscle mass in the middle of your back – Do more pulls than pushes! or, If you naturally have a thick torso but skinny legs – spend more time lifting your legs! . This stuff is really not rocket science but folks just aren’t doing it! .

#3. Practice Balanced Training Methods

. Yes, I know this is opposite of what I just said above! The fact is, once you trained properly to alleviate your imbalances, you need to maintain your current level of balance. This can only be done by designing a well balanced program. . Plus, if you are a coach or trainer looking to preventing muscle imbalances from happening at all, practicing well balanced program design methods will do just that. . A well balanced program consists of  doing a 1:1 ratio of everything – For every pull there is a push. For every flexion there is an extension. Everything done of the right is also done with the left. I think you get the idea. :-) .

#4. Start with the Weak Side

. If you have an obvious weak side or Non-dominat side – I recommend always starting your sets on that side. . Why? – well, what if on your strong side, you could perform 20 reps with a given weight. But, your weak side can only perform 15 reps with that same weight. By starting with your weak side, you set a rep # standard for what you want the strong side to do as well. In other words, if the weak side can only do 15 reps. You would only do 15 reps on your strong side as well. . This strategy will have two positive effects- 1.) it will save the strong side from possible overuse injury and prevent it from getting too strong relative to the other side – 2.) force the weak side to get stronger and catch up to the strong side. . Lastly, it always takes more energy and CNS demand to do things on your non-dominant side. So, it’s always a good idea to start each set using your weaker side because you are fresher and able to devote more energy and effort. This will lead to faster and larger gains in strength and performance on that weak side. .

#5. Control the Force You Can Create!

. This is really a call for the use of mostly standing, free weight based, functionally integrated exercises. This way, you develop and improve the optimal stability required to control your body while improving strength to move your body. . Put simply, many folks out there in the weight room are strong. But, only in the gym! . The problem is they cannot control the force the can create. So, they can only generate maximal force in which a bench or machine can control it for them. All they have to do is move the load. . Think about a guy who can bench a ton or weight. But, when he does push ups, his low back and head sags down toward the floor. This shows that although his upper body can produce tremendous force, his torso cannot control (stabilize) the pull of gravity. This means that his torso (core) cannot control all the fore his upper-body can create. My fiends, this is a huge imbalance that can only lead to dysfunction and injury! . So, do you stability work and spend most of you time in the gym Not sitting or lying down on a bench! .

There you have it!

My top 5 ways to correct and prevent muscle imbalances. .

I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts so post your comments below!

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