I do heavy weight lifting 5 times per week, and when I think back over all the times I have taken discs off the machines, carried them around to other machines, put them on the ground and so on, I have always used my right arm.

Should I be concerned about losing a balance between the strength in my right and left side if I continue to transport equipment using only one arm? Or will the actual workouts maintain that? I've been trying to make a habit of alternating my arms but it's surprisingly easy to forget about it once you've gotten into the workout.

I do feel as though my right side is slightly stronger than my left, but so far I have assumed this is natural because I am right handed.

2 Answers 2


It's a good question. Mark Rippetoe even acknowledged in Starting Strength that muscling dumbbells around and getting them into position for a dumbbell press is part of the movement. When I carry a pair of dumbbells from the rack I always take one with each hand. Even if I take them back separately, I take one with each arm.

I don't think moving a 45lb plate around does anything for me anymore in terms of progressive overload, so I don't think I'm in danger of getting unbalanced by doing that. However, if you are a novice, and it is actually work for you then you should be trying to divide all of the work evenly between the two sides of your body.

Weight training tends to even out strength imbalances. Make sure you have good form and don't come up from a lift crooked, or else you will never balance out. One of my workout buddies has had the same messed up benchpress and press form for years because of this.

Edit: and by the way, I do dumbbell press and dumbbell benchpress in preference to the barbell versions specifically to ensure an even development in both halves of my body. But even properly done barbell movements will balance out your body.

  • Thanks for your feedback - I also stick to dumbbells for my chest and shoulder workouts which is where I am finding myself carry one back to the rack at a time with my right arm, rather than one in each hand.
    – Marty
    Jan 22, 2013 at 4:16

I'm right-handed, and tend to instinctively carry loads on my right side, so I always move plates around with my left hand to help balance things out. It seems to have helped me be more balanced, but my guess is that it's more neuromuscular than strength-related.

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