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I’ve started to consistently going to the gym for around 7 months now, and I’m seeing good results for which i am satisfied.

On one of my training sessions, I accidentally picked up 2.5 kg heavier dumbbell for right side (supposed to lift 22.5 kg, but i lifted 25 kg) while I'm doing 22.5 kg for my left side in dumbbell bench press. I did it as my 4th set for around 8 reps. Since it’s a little difference in weight, I did not notice the weight differences right away while doing my set.

My question is, will this affect my strength and size maybe in the future, making my right side bigger/stronger? I may be overthinking due to amount of effort that i put in to my workouts. Thanks anyways!

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    …are you asking if lifting the wrong weight one time will affect your longitudinal gains?
    – Thomas Markov
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 21:42
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    Hi Thomas, thanks for your reply. Yes that is indeed my question. Will it really affect anything at all?
    – Hawn
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 9:22

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No, lifting a 2.5kg heavier dumbbell on one side during a single set will not make any difference in your life or appearance, unless you somehow hurt yourself in the process.

If you repeatedly lift heavier weights with one side of the body, you will likely see increased strength on that side of the body.

A single set of dumbbell lifts with different weights, however, will make no perceptible difference.

On the other hand, asking your question here could possibly have a very positive impact on your life. You may find it helpful to read about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Many licensed psychologists (PhD, PsyD), therapists (LMFT, etc.), and psychiatrists (MD, DO) can help make accurate diagnosis for these disorders. Both can be serious illnesses, and treatments are available.

Please note that in no way am I stating or even suggesting that I think you may have any disorder. You could simply have a very basic and unique question about human body development. I am only providing a couple links if you happen to have interest in reading them. Your question is quite unique, and for many people, awareness of a condition is often the first step in seeking help (with a mental health professional... a profession for which I have great respect, but which I am not a member!) to improve their lives.

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    Thanks for explaining in a detailed way and also with the added article references! I’m glad that people actually answer this question in a meaningful way. I do feel like my mind works in a weird way, deep down i know the answer but i don’t feel at ease if i don’t get some sort of certainty. Will definitely check the articles you sent. Have a good day!
    – Hawn
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 16:37
  • @Hawn You're most welcome! Glad to help you the best I could. From my understanding, experiencing anxiety (not feeling at ease) without having certainty is a hallmark of OCD. In French, OCD is called "The Doubting Disease" for a good reason. It's like you know the oven is turned off, but you just aren't certain. It can be a painful and debilitating illness. I actually lost a dear friend to it. BDD is no picnic either. My thought is to identify dysfunction and treat it as early as possible with professional help. You deserve it. :) Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 10:38
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Short answer, no. One slightly imbalanced set is not going to have any measurable affect.

Provided you coninue onwards using balanced weight, dumbells are great for keeping symmetrical strength gains as they train each side independently. When doing heavy barbell exercises and one side is slightly stronger, that side can end up doing slightly more of the work as both arms are sharing the load, thus reinforcing the imbalance. This doesn't happen with dumbells because each side is trained independently of the other, therfore neither side can take more wight than the other.

If ever you do notice one side becomes stronger than the other, use dumbell exercises and stop when the weaker arm stops, never do more reps on the stronger side. E.g. doing single arm dumbell rows, do the weaker arm first and whatever number you fail at, do the same number of reps on the stronger side.

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  • That is relieving to hear! Thank you for your explanation! Right now the good thing is that both of my sides are more or less equally strong, but will definitely keep that method to equalize the strength on both sides in mind. That should come in handy when i need it!
    – Hawn
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 16:45

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