I have lately noticed an interesting problem with my gym exercises. This wasn't a problem at lower weights, but is now very noticeable at higher weights.

In exercises like dumbbell shoulder press and dumbbells inclined chest press, I am able to exert equal force with both my arms, at lower weights (2.5kg) as well as higher weights (7.5kg). Dumbbells in both hands go up and come down together.

However, in exercises like dumbbell bicep curl or overhead lat pulldown, I am unable to exert equal force at higher weights. My right hand - being the dominant hand - is able to exert force properly, and pull the weights. But my left hand isn't able to exert as much force. In fact, such is the case in lat pulldown, that the machine arm tits to my right side at higher weights like 19kg.

I think this is a problem, as these exercises are designed symmetrically, so they should be performed symmetrically also. So, how do I fix this problem?

1 Answer 1


You can fix this problem just by focusing on moving both arms at the same rate. In the case of the lat pulldown and barbell exercises, where there's a single bar that is held in both hands, it's easy, you just focus on keeping the bar perfectly horizontal throughout the movement. Dumbbell exercises will be a little trickier, as it's less obvious when one arm is moving faster than the other when there isn't a bar right in front of your face for you to observe.

If you find that you just can't move the weight while keeping the bar level, then you may need to reduce the weight until you can. Otherwise you're allowing yourself to lift more weight than your left arm can handle by having the right arm assist the left, which will only exacerbate the imbalance.

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