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TakingTheWheel

Weaker Left Arm: More Recovery Time Needed?

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Good evening! I posed the question about one side of my upper body seemingly being stronger than the other elsewhere in the forums. However, tonight's workout proved particularly frustrating and I was wondering if anyone else experienced something similar when they were starting out lifting weights.

 

To make a long story short, my right (dominant) arm is significantly stronger than my left. In all exercises. I'm trying to pick dumbbells for exercises when I can so my strong right arm doesn't overcompensate for my weak left arm. Good? I think so.

 

During tonight's workout, I attempted to complete two sets of seated dumbbell curls at 15 reps per arm. The recommended weight for this workout was 15 lbs. Near the end of the first set, my left arm just couldn't squeeze into the top of the curl anymore and my form started suffering. However, my right arm was doing better and I completed all 15 reps with an expected amount of difficulty. I searched for the 12.5 lb (or is it 12.7 lb?) dumbbells but couldn't find them. So, I had to settle for the 10 lb dumbbells. My left arm completed the two remaining sets (I added one for good measure) with much better form. However, my right arm barely felt like it "broke a sweat," while my left arm felt way more fatigued.

 

Is this just a phase I need to struggle through since, like I said before, I'm new to my fitness journey? And, since I'm only a few weeks into training, should I perhaps give my arms more time to recover between workouts? No doubt I went a little hard on my arms during this past Saturday's workout.

 

Right now, I've got a routine that works my full body from various angles scheduled for each of the three days a week I workout. I can change that to an Upper/Lower Split, a Push/Pull/Lower Split, or a Fresh Muscle Groups workout (which chooses two primary muscle groups and abs for each workout). Since I, like all of us, want to maximize my time in the gym, I opted for the Full Body workout in the hopes that I'd stimulate more muscle fibers more frequently and reap the rewards, instead of only hitting each muscle group once a week.

 

I like the Full Body workout for everything else, it's just my left arm that seems to be lagging behind. What's a guy to do? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

-Peter

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It's just a phase. Continue working with dumbbells as you even out the imbalance, and you can also throw in a set or 2 of double arm stuff to round out the stronger side, something that offers unique stimulation like preacher or overhand curls with the cambered or fixed bar, or some chin ups. Being dominant on one side is absolutely normal and I see it everyday. Keep at it and be patient! Time and consistency is your best ally. 

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5 minutes ago, RedStone said:

It's just a phase. Continue working with dumbbells as you even out the imbalance, and you can also throw in a set or 2 of double arm stuff to round out the stronger side, something that offers unique stimulation like preacher or overhand curls with the cambered or fixed bar, or some chin ups. Being dominant on one side is absolutely normal and I see it everyday. Keep at it and be patient! Time and consistency is your best ally. 

 

Thanks, RedStone! And thank you for not making me feel self-conscious about the weight I've been able to use thus far. I'm much stronger on compound muscle moves, but isolation exercises, such as curls, definitely reveal my weaknesses...much to my dismay. I will keep my head focused, stay the course, and hopefully reap the rewards. We've all gotta start somewhere, right?

 

-Peter

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8 minutes ago, TakingTheWheel said:

 

Thanks, RedStone! And thank you for not making me feel self-conscious about the weight I've been able to use thus far. I'm much stronger on compound muscle moves, but isolation exercises, such as curls, definitely reveal my weaknesses...much to my dismay.

 

Nothing to be self conscious about, that's just anatomy for you! It follows that isolation would be at a lower weight than compound - isolation only uses one (or a small) muscle group while compound uses the whole body! And consider the size of some of those muscles. You're not going to curl the same thing you're going to bench and that's fine - those exercises serve different purposes! Different approaches for different needs, not a weakness whatsoever. If it's heavy, it's working. I don't care what the number is. 

 

IrCMo1um.png

 

8 minutes ago, TakingTheWheel said:

 

I will keep my head focused, stay the course, and hopefully reap the rewards. We've all gotta start somewhere, right?

 

-Peter

 

Absolutely. 

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On 5/29/2018 at 8:59 PM, RedStone said:

You're not going to curl the same thing you're going to bench and that's fine - those exercises serve different purposes! Different approaches for different needs, not a weakness whatsoever. If it's heavy, it's working. I don't care what the number is. 

 

QFT

 

And to add to RedStone's wise words: The reason the number on the weight doesn't matter is because it's not a competition, against anyone. We are not competing against the people around us (which is good for me, since I'm that one girl who is there late in the evening, struggling with weights that the guys around me lift without any effort at all!). And we are not competing with the us of yesterday, because that person no longer exists.

 

We're working with the weights, to move forward towards our goal of becoming stronger, and we know it doesn't matter how much other people can lift. What matters is how much we can lift, with correct form, and that we continue to challenge ourselves. Everything else is a distraction.

 

The weight section at the gym is one of the few places in life where "you do you, and I do me, and we'll both do welll" really and truly applies. It's one of the reasons I love it there. :)

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