Having a muscular imbalance in your legs is really difficult- as your legs are some of the biggest muscles on your body and muscular imbalances in the legs REALLY stand out.
In this article, we will cover 7 simple ways to fix muscle imbalances in the legs.
- 1 – Single Leg Extension Machine Exercise
- 2 – Bulgarian Split Squats (Emphasis on Weaker Leg)
- 3 – Weighted Step Ups on Weaker Leg
- 4 – Lunges (Slow Reps on Weaker Leg)
- 5 – Do Tons of Leg Stretches
- 6 – Let Your Weaker Leg ‘Lead’ The Exercises
- 7 – Reassess Your Diet (Increase Protein)
Let’s get into it and cover this all in depth!
#1 – Leg Extension Machine – Use ONE Leg, Not Both!
Most of us are very familiar with the leg extension machine in the gym, and for most of us, it’s a part of our daily workout routine.
Typically, when you use the leg extension machine, you use both legs to lift a bar upwards against the weight, then you lower it.
A great way to fix muscle imbalance in the legs is to use the leg extension machine, but with ONE LEG instead of two. It’s very simple, just don’t use your other leg when you push the bar up.
You can quickly figure out how bad the muscular imbalance is by testing the weight each leg can individually lift. For example, if your left leg can lift 140 lbs and your right leg can lift 160 lbs, you have a smaller muscular imbalance and you can resolve it pretty quickly.
Now- don’t just keep on progressing as normal and increasing weight on both legs separately. You really want to stress out your weaker leg and try and increase the weight as much as you can to get that muscle growing.
Also- eat way more protein and calories to get that muscle growth going.
#2 – Bulgarian Split Squat from a Bench Targeted At The Weak Leg
I LOVE Bulgarian split squats- they are an exercise that completely isolates one leg and forces that muscle to grow.
Basically, we are putting one leg on a bench behind us- removing it from the equation- and then putting the weaker leg to take the full force of whatever work we throw at it.
Here’s a video demonstration:
What you want to do here is use that weaker leg that is behind in muscle growth and just hammer it with these split squats.
This is going to really shock that muscle and make it catch up in muscle growth fast.
I recommend a regiment like this:
- 1 Set of 12 Reps
- 1 Set of 10 Reps
- 1 Set of 8 Reps
- 1 Set of 6 Reps
- 1 Set of 5 Reps
Do this every day you’re trying to bring that lagging leg back up to shape. (So, usually your leg days)
You’ll see the difference fast.
#3 – Weighted Step Ups
These ones are really easy, and you can even do them at home.
Basically, you take a weighted object (can literally be anything- typically dumbbells) and you step up onto an object like a bench with the weak leg leading.
Here’s a video demonstration:
As we can see, this is very simple. Yet, this is incredible at fixing muscle imbalances in the leg. You can do these all day at home and see a difference really fast.
Here’s what I recommend doing every leg day:
- 1 set of 12 reps stepping up on the uneven leg with lighter weight.
- 1 set of 10 reps, increasing weight on uneven leg.
- 1 set of 8 reps, increasing weight on the uneven leg.
- 1 set of 6 reps, increasing weight on the uneven leg.
- 1 set of 5 reps, increasing weight on the uneven leg.
This one is one you can feel- and you’ll see the results fast.
#4 – Lunges! (Emphasis on Weaker Leg)
Lunges are one of the more forgotten leg exercises in the bodybuilding world- and I’m not sure why.
When it comes to fixing muscle imbalances in the legs- lunges are one of the BEST ways to do it. In fact, lunges heavily ironed out one of my biggest muscle imbalances and relatively quickly too.
There are many different ways to do lunges. Personally, I prefer the lunges where you’re actually walking somewhere as it makes it more fun to me.
Now, when it comes to doing lunges to fix a muscle imbalance in the leg- I would MAKE SURE you are doing the rep almost as slow as possible on that weaker leg.
If you regularly do lunges already, you know that doing lunges slow is VERY DIFFICULT and makes your legs burn up. So, make sure that when you are going down and back up on that weaker leg to almost ‘take your time’ and do the rep as slow as possible- you will feel that burn and it will be shocking that muscle to make sure it grows.
#5 – Do Tons of Leg Stretches – Chances Are, The Muscle Imbalance is From a Bad Mobility During Exercise
People never talk about this- and it’s truly the main reason behind most muscular imbalances.
Bad mobility and poor stretching- this is generally the root cause of all of this madness. Here’s why:
Most people do things like squats for their leg day- this makes sense, right? You activate all your leg muscles at once and grow them all at once. Except, now you have a muscular imbalance in a leg- why?
Well, when you are squatting, part of your leg muscles are NOT being activated and there’s a reason behind that- there is likely poor mobility due to poor stretching somewhere.
This is much more common than you think, and when you realize you have quite literally hundreds of different tiny little muscles in your body, you can actually start to see how tiny habits and non-stretching can cause this to happen.
Generally speaking, most people have tight hips or weak muscles in one side of their hip. This leads to the stronger hip muscles activating more, resulting in that side of the body growing stronger leg muscles because the equality isn’t there.
Once you get this weak point ironed out, you’ll notice most muscular imbalances go away really fast as your body is able to use both sides equally. You’ll also notice that your squat will jump up a ton, as you’ll be using more muscle.
I recommend reading ‘The Art of Becoming a Supple Leopard’ – it’s basically your one-stop book for ANY stretching and muscular imbalance fix you need. I don’t even know how this guy did it, he turned complicated stretches only doctors should really know into common knowledge for any issue you have- it’s a great read.
#6 – Let Your Weaker Leg ‘Lead’ The Exercise
If you’re having muscular imbalances and you’ve identified that weaker leg- let it almost “lead” the exercise.
Naturally, since the other leg is stronger, we usually lead with that leg to increase the chance of us successfully completing the rep. However, that’s taking the stress away from that weaker leg, when we want it to be doing even MORE work.
Yes, you may fail some reps- you may even fail some sets because of this. But it’s important in the long term.
Use that mind-muscle connection and really think of that weaker leg pushing the weight up first and leading that exercise, this is one of the fastest ways to fix muscular imbalances.
#7 – Reassess Your Diet (Increase Protein to Decrease Muscular Imbalances)
Another reason you may be having muscular imbalances can relate to your own diet.
How much protein are you taking in? Chances are- it may not be enough.
Generally speaking, you want to have .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 100 pounds- you would eat 70 grams of protein a day. 200 pounds? 140 grams of protein a day.
A part of the muscular imbalances can stem from the fact your body cannot actually build enough muscle due to the lack of protein.
Furthermore, it could be a lack of calories too. Your body cannot grow muscle in a caloric deficit, so if you are trying to even out some muscular imbalances- remember, you need to eat more to gain a little bit of weight so that muscle can actually grow. Your body cannot make it out of thin air.
So, remember- more calories, more protein. And less muscular imbalances.
Conclusion of 7 Ways How To Fix Muscle Imbalances In Legs
While muscle imbalances in the legs are super noticeable, they are also super easily fixable.
This list should help you iron out any leg muscle imbalances in no time. And just as a reminder, if you have a leg muscle imbalance- don’t worry too much about it. The truth is, most people don’t notice it, we are just very self-conscious of ourselves and again, most people won’t even notice a difference.
So, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’ll work its way out, but until then- don’t stress it.