How can I identify the weak muscle or muscles in a muscular imbalance?

The imbalance is in my shoulder-area, if that helps.

  • 3
    I don't know that focusing on real or perceived muscular imbalances is productive, but, if you want more help with this question, then please consider describing what you perceive that suggests a muscular imbalance to you. For example, perhaps you feel weak or uncomfortable during certain motions, or perceive lateral differences in ability. – Christian Conti-Vock Jan 29 '18 at 15:55
  • My shoulders were hurting, and the doctor suggested that there was an imbalance between my trapezius muscles and my shoulder muscles. – CMK Jan 29 '18 at 19:39
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    What that doctor told you sounds worse than useless, since it's quite vague, is apparently unaccompanied by any specific recommendations, and has you chasing what may be clinically-insignificant anatomical/physiological variations instead of simply, for example, getting stronger. Perhaps you will commence/continue strength training, and strengthen your shoulders via (overhead) presses, bench presses, chin-ups, etc. – Christian Conti-Vock Jan 29 '18 at 21:08
  • @ChristianConti-Vock She did say that my trapezius muscles were significantly larger than my shoulders proportionally. I did plan on simply focusing on my shoulders, but wanted a way to confirm that this was the source of my pain. – CMK Jan 29 '18 at 22:49
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    Get an Assessment From a Local Physical Therapist, diagnosis and corrective exercise prescription should be quite easy for a professional. From the little information given there's no way to rule out a neuromuscular component. Do not try to simply treat this yourself, if you do not fix the underlying cause of the issue you're compounding the problem. – Mike-DHSc Mar 2 '18 at 15:46

The root cause of muscle imbalances are 1.Poor Posture 2.Using wrong form while exercising 3.Not giving attention to supporting muscle groups for an exercise (Example hard to keep torso upright while squatting due to weak core or rounded Shoulder due to less emphasis on posterior(back) workout )

You can easily notice muscular imbalance by doing unilateral exercise .For example ,If you think your chest has imbalance then do dumbbell press instead of barbell,you'll easily notice when one side feels kinda weak. Another example in case of barbell bench if you're lockout part(when bar reaches top) is hard,then you're triceps is relatively weak.

Thus for your case do unilateral versions of shoulder press/side lateral raise/rear deltoids fly etc.

NB: Sometimes it can be due to genetics(then nothing you can do about muscle size but can increase strength) or a previous major injury(consult a doctor).


Weak middle and lower trapezius relative to pecs and front delts is a common problem that causes rounded shoulders, hunchback posture and pain in shoulders.

The solution is to strengthen the middle and lower trapezius muscles using horizontal pulling movements such as seated rows and barbell rows. Walls angels trough out the day is also great to strengthen these and to stretch the pecs. You should probably also strengthen the rear delts by doing facepulls.

Lots of people have this problem. I have never heard of anyone than has the opposite problem so you can't really go wrong by strengthening these muscles.

You can also use wall angels as a diagnostic test.

Benchpressing with incorrect form can also cause pain in the shoulder. Do not move your shoulder while benchpressing. It is a pecs and triceps exercise, not a front delts exercise.

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