Can anyone help me fix my lifting form?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 23, 2011 at 2:47 PM

I apologise that this is not directly a paleo diet question but maybe someone can point me in the right direction and or to a better resource.

I currently workout on my own: body-weight + free-weight (dumbbell/sandbag/kettlebell) workouts (mainly HITT), not at any gym but hoping to join a crossfit gym next year.

My problem is that over the year I have developed poor technique in my general lifting and I am really trying to fix it before I increase my lifting weight. The issue is that my left shoulder is much stronger than my left arm and so almost always engages in lifting the weight first. The issue is noticeable even after sets of push-ups and pull-ups with much of the muscle "bulk" in the left shoulder and right arm.

In the last month I have tried to isolate my left arm bicep/tricep by lowering my dumbbell weight and focusing on slow controlled reps, and I have also started using a mirror whenever I can to keep myself in check.

I would love some specific technique guidance to fix this issue. If anyone could help I would greatly appreciate it.




on November 24, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Thanks for this.



on November 24, 2011
at 11:36 AM

My theory is that years ago I simply lifted to much dumbbell weight to begin with and did exactly what you shouldn't in terms of form. Then I did little to no strength exercise for years and now starting up again. If I were to do dumbbell reps, afterwards my left deltoid, and trapezius are "pumped" far more than my right. Understandably they may be working harder but if I was to relax you would notice my left deltoid/trapezius is lifted higher than my right. This is the case normally and not even after working out. It could even be a back issue causing tension on the left.


on November 24, 2011
at 05:22 AM

Email me, would love to help. Your description is a bit vague, however--which exercises are a problem, is this asymmetry very pronounced as a result of an injury, etc.?



on November 23, 2011
at 11:02 PM

This won't address your core problem, if infact that is being caused by poor form, however if your trying to isolate a muscle, simply use an exercise that isolates it rather than lowering weight or slowing it down. In your case for the bicep/tricep use a bicep curl or a tricep pull down. These will not engage the shoulder in any significant way.

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on November 23, 2011
at 08:40 PM


3rd edition is coming out very soon. Buy it. Read it. Then search their forum for "muscle imbalance" issues.

The advice generally given is that muscle imbalances are often a) bullshit (ie not real) or b) go away with proper form and real weight. If you are lifting (say) 20lbs right now in one hand and think that one muscle is stronger than the other, what do you think will happen when you try to lift 40lbs? The weakest link the chain will fail and you won't be able to complete the rep. You'll be "targeting" the muscle that needs to be developed to bring everything in "balance". Although I admit those terms strike me as ridiculous in the context of a pushup, where barring bizarre form and equipment, you can't possibly "isolate" a single muscle.

So, summary: If you are not lifting heavy weights, there is a high probability that you are not actually suffering from any real imbalance, and the whole thing would solve itself if you just push on to heavier stuff with good attention to form.



on November 24, 2011
at 03:25 PM

Thanks for this.



on November 23, 2011
at 07:03 PM

I won't profess to know much about it, but I have always referred to a situation such as yours as a "muscle imbalance." We all generally have some imbalances but focusing on not sacrificing form to favor the imbalance is key. Here are a few links that may give you some ideas (tough to go wrong with MDA):



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