I am quite new to weightlifting and not really a type to ever be ripped (skinny, 16,6 cm wrists. Anyway, I am concerned whether this is normal:
I do bicep curls with two 18 pound dumbbells. In the first set, I can do 10 with both of my arms. In the second set, I can do 10 with my right, but only 8 with my left. In the third set (even when I rest for several minutes), my right feels quite good and I can do 9-10, while my left can do only 5-6. Could this be normal? I am a bit scared if that cannot be some neurological problem.


If you are new to weightlifting, and for example use your dominant arm a lot in your daily life but not your non-dominant, that actually could be a normal thing. However, we can't tell if it is just an muscular imbalance or something caused by some sort of disease via the internet and without you seeing a doctor.

If it is just an imbalance you can easily balance that out over time with e.g. training these muscles unilaterally, where the non-dominant side goes first and the dominant side only performs as much reps as the non-dominant side did before. In severe cases of muscle imbalance you also could do more sets on the weaker side.

  • Thanks, I know, I was more curious whether somebody has had a similar problem (not doing one less rep, but several reps less with the other arm).
    – John V
    Jan 17 '19 at 14:18
  • @JohnV I myself am fighting with a visibly weaker left lat at the moment. I feel that the mentioned above tip works great for me.
    – Suimon
    Jan 17 '19 at 14:47
  • and what is the strength difference for you, in terms of reps?
    – John V
    Jan 17 '19 at 14:54
  • @JohnV I haven't really tried how much more reps I could do with the stronger side. In my case, as an intermediate lifter, the imbalance came from only using exercises executed with both arms (lat pulldown, pullup) which over time are prone to work one side more than the other. I only noticed it because of the visibly smaller left side and now switched to unilateral alternatives. Over time it will even out with such techniques.
    – Suimon
    Jan 17 '19 at 14:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.