Sorry to ask this question directly
as I appreciate your a busy person. Since I have been weight
training I have noticed my left pec is growing faster than my
right. I have also noticed the right side of my collar bone is
slightly higher than the left side. Do you think this could be
the cause and if so do you have any ideas on targeting that muscle
better. I did post in the forum but had no luck. Thank you for
I can only guess that your asymmetrical development is related
to your uneven posture in some way. I would imagine you also
have a difference between your right and left triceps.
The best advice I can provide you, would be to consult a physical
therapist, orthopedic physician, or skilled kinesiologist, particularly
if you have had an old injury that has altered your range of
motion, posture, or muscle function. They may prescribe specific
stretches and exercises for postural muscles. Performing additional
sets for the smaller side has limited value in correcting these
sort of asymmetries.
Apart from that, make certain your exercise form is close
to symmetrical on your bench, incline and shoulder press. Have
a few spotters look at your form for differences on each side.
If there is a difference, use only the weight you can manage
in symmetrical form, increasing only when you are able to manage
symmetrical form. You will need continuous feedback to correct
your form at first. Although I suspect you may only have limited
success with this approach.
Keep in mind that most people have subtle differences between
their right and left sides. I, as many others, have multiple
asymmetrically shaped muscles, possibly somewhat similar to your
case (see 1990 picture).
Somehow, I even ended up with 2 abs on one side and 3 abs on
the other side! Next time you see a bodybuilding publication,
take a close look at difference between these individuals right
and left sides. Even those bodybuilders who are noted for their
symmetry have notable differences between sides. They just know
how to hide it. Paradoxically physique competitors often appear
more symmetrical in asymmetrical poses.
Even more remarkable is Diana Chaloux (pictured at right),
an ExRx.net model who happens to have scoliosis.
Despite this affliction, in 2008 she won both the WBFF Figure
World Championships and the Pro Fitness Model World Championships!
What is the best way to increase exercise tolerance in
certain specific muscles? I've noticed that my quads start burning
very quickly, before they have maxed out. (no wonder I'm not
a big squat fan). I notice this much more than with other large
muscle groups. I know that the quads are the biggest muscle group.
Do I just need to get them more used to anaerobic exercise?
For one thing, make sure you are exercising each muscle group
regularly, approximately 2 to 3 times a week depending on your
experience level (see Dose-Response
Curve). You'll also need to progressively increase the reps
and weight in a systematic fashion to increase exercise tolerance.
As for the burning sensation, have an expert examine your
form during your squats. An exaggerated burning sensation in
the quads can be caused by driving your hips forward prematurely
or not locking out at the top. Generally, the load should be
shifted somewhat proportionally throughout the posterior (back,
glutes, calves) and anterior chains (quadriceps). See Squat
Torque Force. Incidentally, you should be experiencing far
less of a burning
sensation on full range compound
exercises like squats or leg presses through with complete
extension as compared to isolated
exercises such as leg extensions. The ACSM as well as other
authorities advise performing each exercise through full
range on motion. It is acceptable to lock out the knee (essential
for joint adaptation) between reps, as long as your joint is
healthy and you adhere to essential adaption
criteria. During full extension, the workload is momentarily
shifted from the muscle to the supporting skeletal structure.
This momentary relative relaxation will restore blood flow, enough
to move acid (from anaerobic glycolysis) away from the working
muscle. A more static contraction occludes blood flow and challenges
more muscular endurance, as what is experienced in leg extensions,
The larger muscles (ie Glutes and Quads) will take longer
to recuperate between sets (even after just a warmup set). Allow
a little bit more rest between sets on the larger muscle groups.
demonstrate faster recovery with light muscular activity between
sets. Instead of sitting between sets, consider walking around
between sets, or swinging your arms about between your upper
body exercises. In any situation, your muscles will eventually
adapt to an exercise if it is performed regularly. If you feel
undue muscular fatigue persists, you could consider performing
a lower repetition range with heavier weight (e.g. increasing
weight after 10 reps instead of 12 reps).
Just as muscular strength and flexibility is specific to each
muscle, muscular endurance is also specific to each muscle and
will need to be trained accordingly.
Thanks for the prompt response. I forgot to mention that
I live and workout at 7,000 ft altitude. I have heard through
the High Altitude Training Center here (part of Northern Arizona
University) that it is more difficult to build muscle mass here
do to the lower oxygen (can't max out the muscle as much as at
sea level), but it is easier to build endurance. Many endurance
athletes train here periodically, especially prior to major events
at high altitude locations.
If you have been weight training for more than a year, I would
also suggest light/heavy
workouts, so you work on muscular endurance on workout and
muscular strength the next workout. A more advance approached
Periodization where you have more elaborate variations to