How Long Does It Take to Fix a Muscle Imbalance?

Muscle imbalances suck. And, it doesn’t help that when we notice a muscle imbalance, we almost impulsively focus on it all day long.

So, now that you’ve been constantly trying to get rid of this muscle imbalance- how long does it take to fix a muscle imbalance?

It roughly takes, on average, 2-4 weeks to fix a small muscle imbalance, and 5-12 weeks to fix a bigger muscle imbalance. For most people, it will take 3-4 weeks to get most muscle imbalances ironed out.

Let’s cover this more in-depth, and cover some ground rules.

What is a Muscle Imbalance?

Let’s set some ground rules and definitions so we’re on the same page.

A muscular imbalance is when one of your muscles is weaker than the other muscle on the corresponding part of your body.

Simply put, a muscular imbalance would be your left arm being weaker than your right arm.

With that in mind, let’s discuss how we actually fix muscle imbalances.

How Long Does It Take to Fix a Muscle Imbalance?
How Long Does It Take to Fix a Muscle Imbalance?

How Are Muscle Imbalances Fixed?

So, muscle imbalances actually aren’t that hard to fix.

Usually, it’s as simple as just working out the other muscle harder and playing a game of ‘catch-up’.

So, if you have a muscle imbalance don’t fear- it is temporary and can be fixed.

However, sometimes it can be a more complicated reason you’re having a muscular imbalance- especially if it’s reoccurring. If that’s the case, I recommend reading the article above for an in-depth view.

What Makes a Muscular Imbalance Small or Big?

Muscular imbalances are not all the same, and can generally be categorized by the size of the difference.

  • A Small Muscular Imbalance Consists Of:
    • A muscular imbalance that is slightly noticeable with close inspection- but most people can’t really see it. These are the muscular imbalances you see when you spend 4 hours posing a day in the mirror, but aren’t too noticeable generally speaking.
  • A Big Muscular Imbalance Consists Of:
    • A muscular imbalance that is largely noticeable by others as well- and not just upon close inspection or by trained bodybuilders. This would mean that anybody off the street could look at your muscle group for a second and see a big size difference.

With these definitions in mind, let’s now cover how long it takes to fix these muscular imbalances.

3-4 Weeks For Most People Fixes Small Muscle Imbalances

When we are talking about small muscle imbalances, it usually takes 3-4 weeks for most people to fix these differences.

Generally speaking, you’re just going to have to hammer out that muscle with a ton of isolation exercises. Basically, just work it extra compared to the other muscle.

For instance, if your right bicep is just a little smaller than the left, you should just hammer it with extra right dumbbell bicep curls and something else. 3-4 weeks of this and you should be able to see the muscular imbalance, for the most part, go away.

Remember, to fix muscular imbalances, you’ll also need a proper diet. Make sure your protein intake is adequate and you are in a caloric surplus- because the muscle cannot grow if you are losing weight!

5-12 Weeks for Bigger Muscle Imbalances

As we covered earlier, bigger muscle imbalances are super noticeable and these are not your typical muscle imbalances.

A bigger muscle imbalance like this usually results from an injury where you weren’t able to train a muscle for a long time.

If you are finding you have a huge muscle imbalance and you didn’t have an injury- reevaluate a few things:

  • Record yourself doing exercises related to that muscle.
    • Make sure you aren’t using one side more than the other side when exercising. This is common when bench pressing, using one pec or arm more than the other side.
  • Stretch your muscles (literally).
    • Many of these bigger muscle imbalances stem from poor stretching which results in one muscle not being able to be activated- meanwhile the other side can be activated. This is most common when squatting, where there are tons of smaller muscle groups that can easily be ignored without proper stretching.

These bigger muscle imbalances will usually take 5-12 weeks to fix.

As we all know, building muscle takes forever- and fixing a muscle imbalance isn’t any different.

But, don’t stress it at the end of the day. It’s a good thing that fixing a muscle imbalance isn’t any different. It’s just like the normal muscle building you already do, you just have to trust the process.

Remember, just use isolation exercises on that specific muscle, work it way more than the other muscle- and you’ll see the muscle imbalance steadily go away.


Let’s recap:

If you’re finding yourself having bigger muscle imbalances,

  • Record yourself and watch the video to make sure you aren’t using one side more than the other.
  • Also, do tons of stretching and mobility exercises to make sure you are properly activating all muscle groups- this is surprisingly a common reason behind muscle imbalances.

Fixing muscle imbalances is the same process as building muscle- and that’s actually a good thing. It means, ultimately, anyone can fix their muscle imbalance using the same tried and true strategy we do every day in the gym- progressive overload.

Just remember:

  • Do isolation work on the muscle that is affected.
  • Do a lot more extra sets and reps on that affected muscle as well.

Good luck- you’ve got this. Also, chances are- your muscle imbalance isn’t that noticeable so don’t get too self-conscious about it.

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