How to Positively Correct Chest Muscle Imbalance

Updated on July 25, 2020
Kenna McHugh profile image

I worked alongside top natural health professionals and experience as a fitness instructor educated me on health tips I am proud to share.

Here's a healthy looking chest.
Here's a healthy looking chest.

Balance Your Pectorals

Can you keep your pectoral muscles balanced when you lift? The most common type of "imbalance" relating to the chest muscle area is flawed upper pectoral development.

It is known to happen to those who go off the beam because they fall short on fitting their incline bench press maneuver with every training session. By adjusting the incline bench press in the earlier part of the workout, weight trainers are making sure they don't have a dominant side of the upper chest. That way, the muscles are more balanced and working together because they are fresh and not tired.

The dominant side of the body lifts more of the weight compared to the weaker side. If you are right-handed, then the right side of your pectorals will be dominant. The same if you are left-handed, then your left side will be dominant.

You can buck the norm and try putting aside the incline bench press until the end of the chest maneuvers when the muscles have reached their weakest point. That is a huge mistake because when your muscles are at their weakest point, it is hard to lift evenly.

The incline press lets you strengthen and develop the upper area of your chest, so your chest muscles become bigger and stronger.

As you lift, concentrate on keeping the lift even on both sides of your body. If one side is holding the bulk of the weight, then you are lifting too much, and you can't balance the load. Your pectorals become imbalanced, with the dominant size getting bigger and stronger.

Increase the weights in increments is more effective and better for your body. You don't need to be Arnold Bodybuilder overnight.

How to Do an Incline Press

Incline Press: Upper Chest Workout

Always start with the upper chest workout by completing the inclined bench press. Your upper body will be fresh and powerful enough to work the upper chest properly. The crucial points to practice while lifting:

  • The focus is not to rush the lift but make slow, calculated, and controlled lifts while you get the full range of motion.
  • By controlling the bar as you bring it down and up, you make this happen.
  • Remember, you need to squeeze the chest muscles when you lift the weight back up.
  • Evenly lift on each side of the chest muscles is the most effective way to avoid imbalance.
  • Ask your spotter to watch for an even lift. Slowly your awareness of how to lift correctly develops over time.

Prevention is the best way to keep things balanced. I am sure you have heard that sometimes people go off the beam. It is known to happen because they missed the opportunity to fit the incline bench press with each training session.

Or, they put aside the incline bench press until the end of the chest maneuvers, which is at the muscles’ weakest point, and imbalance pectorals are the result. You can remedy this by doing the incline press before and follow the basic rules mentioned.

Learn About Your Body

What is the natural purpose of the pectoral muscles?

See results

Concentrating on strengthening your weakest side is an effective and smart workout.

Chest Workout With Dumbbells

Work out one side of the pectorals using dumbbells until it balances the pectoral muscles. Perform the precise estimations of strength for each side of the upper body. You will not have one side that dominates. The dumbbell lift works nicely as a single chest workout. Follow these steps for a useful lift:

  1. Perform the lift by standing with your feet secured at the width of your shoulders, with toes pointed out a little.
  2. Now, take hold of the dumbbell with the palm of the right hand in front of the right shoulder.
  3. Slowly lift the dumbbell above your head, while at the same time, you rotate the palm to face forward when the arm extends fully upward.
  4. Then, gradually push your hips towards your right.
  5. The torso needs to dip toward your left as the left arm glides down the left thigh. Feel the movement in your right pectorals.
  6. Now, you need the same movement on the opposite side of the body (left) in the original position.
  7. It's best to perform the upper body workout 4 to 6 times on each arm.
  8. As your body's strength increases, you need to increase your dumbbell weight.
  9. You need to make sure you start with a lightweight, so you get accustomed to doing the movement.


"You should never be afraid of looking athletic or building too much muscle."

— Alex Morgan, Professional Athlete

What Experts Say

Strengthen Your Weakest Side

Concentrating on strengthening your weakest side is an effective and smart workout. The movement isolates one side of the chest at a time. You develop the weakest side efficiently while maintaining the balance of chest muscles. You will need a bench to perform the dumbbell lift. It is a useful dumbbell exercise:

  1. You start with the right hand and right knee securely on the bench.
  2. You hold the dumbbell with your left hand poised straight below your shoulder with your palm facing the bench.
  3. Your left foot needs to stay flat beneath the hip.
  4. You also need to make sure your back is as flat as can be with your left elbow resting on the body.
  5. Now, you slowly lift the dumbbell with the intent that the elbow goes beyond the torso as the heel of the left-hand meets ribs level.
  6. And then, you hold the lift at two seconds, slowly lower the dumbbell.
  7. After 5 to 6 lifts, repeat the same movement but switch sides.
  8. Breathe normally throughout the exercise, and lift the dumbbell on both sides 5 to 6 times.

"I am training a lot harder, gym a lot, more muscle, strengthening my back, my legs, my muscles, my weak areas a lot."

— Fidel Edwards, Professional Athlete

Focus on the Goal

All in all, I like the dumbbell lifts because working one side at a time helps me focus on my goal. The essential point of weight lifting is watching the range of motion and keeping your attention on what you intend to gain from the workout.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Kenna McHugh


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    • profile image


      20 months ago

      This is the first time I have ever heard about muscle imbalance. Thank you. The article is an education about muscles and the body.


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