Muscle imbalances can cause a lot of issues, including serious injury, bad posture, back issues, and reduced performance in the gym or the sports field.

Stretching and mobility work is unglamorous and nobody wants to spend hours holding unpleasant static stretches.

But at the same time, you don’t want to become the stereotype of the “muscle-bound” meat with the flexibility of a brick.

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If you’re a serious lifter or athlete, you should be taking your mobility seriously — and that includes addressing muscular imbalances that may arise or have arisen.

As we have already mentioned, muscular imbalances can lead to a slew of problems.

Big pecs and shoulders — the beach muscles — and a small back can lead to rounded shoulders that make you look like a less jacked gorilla. Couple this with a sedentary desk-jockey lifestyle and you have a recipe for disaster. Not only does it look less appealing, but it can also leave you more injury-prone.

For those who train legs — congrats! — you should be wary that overdeveloped quads and weak hamstrings can spell disaster if you play a sport that requires a lot of sprinting.

Many professional athletes have had their careers blighted by hamstring problems. And in my experience, I have met several athletes who have pulled/torn their hamstrings due to the fact that they prioritize Squats and Lunges over posterior chain exercises to develop their explosive power.

These are problems that are wholly brought about by muscular imbalances.

And these are problems that can be avoided.

The Three Rules to Avoid Muscular Imbalances

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The three rules to avoid muscular imbalances from creeping in are very simple, but take a bit of extra work and careful programming.

They are:

  • Training ratios
  • Stretching and Mobility
  • Prehab

If you need a complete training program, check out our DEMIGOD Bundle here.

1. Training Ratios

This is the most important point to avoid muscular imbalances from appearing.

Put simply, this is how many sets/reps of one pattern movement you do against another.

The most common muscular imbalance caused by the gym is chest tightness.

A lot of novice lifters insist on training only the “visible” beach muscles (chest, biceps, shoulders, abs).

As a result, their backs and rear deltoids are severely neglected.

This can lead to rounded shoulders, poor posture, shoulder injury, inefficient motor patterns, and a lot more.

The best way to address this issue is to do 1.5-2 times as many sets/reps of pulling movements to pressing movements.

The second muscular imbalance caused by training is to train quad-dominant exercises more than posterior chain exercises.

The result is weak hamstrings that can lead to back pain and muscular tearing.

To address this, we recommend you at least match the number of quad-dominant exercises with posterior chain exercises.

If your posterior chain is particularly weak, you can even increase the ratio up to 1.5-2 times to bring your hammies up to speed.

2. Stretching and Mobility

Stretching and mobility work is crucial in preventing muscular imbalances from altering your entire body.

But, the problem is, most lifters don’t like to do it!

And they usually wait until it’s too late or for something to start hurting before doing anything about it!

One of the most important things about working on your mobility and improving your range of motion is to ensure that you are performing your lifts properly, to the best of your ability.

In addition to this, training with a full range of motion in a controlled manner will also contribute towards muscular imbalance avoidance.

Ego lifting with purposefully limited range of motions to shift more weight is a good way for imbalances to arise.

Add this to low-to-no mobility work and you have a recipe for disaster.

3. Prehab

Just like with stretching and mobility work, you must be prehabing your muscles and joints on a regular basis to prevent injuries and muscular imbalances.

This can be as simple as holding good posture, throwing in a few sets of band pull-aparts on a daily basis, doing a mobility, going for a walk, etc.

It can also include single limb work or mechanical drop sets to increase the total training volume for a weaker side of your body.

Of course, if you have bad posture or gait, you must address this before you can assume a prehab regimen.

Training on an already-compromise body is great way for even more muscular imbalances to appear or for injuries to sideline you for long periods.

If you apply these three rules, you can reverse muscular imbalances and even prevent them from occurring in the future.

If you need a complete training program, check out our DEMIGOD Bundle here.

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