Weight Training - Muscle Question

Getting older (I’m 62) and figuring it was good for me, I started an upper body regimen almost two years ago. I notice the results in many places/ways. However, as compared to my left bicept, my right isn’t anywhere near as pronounced. Flexing the right even feels different in that I can’t get the muscle to tighten up. Every exercise I do uses both arms simultaneously. What’s up?

Just based on the limited info you’ve provided in your OP, you could be over-compensating for your weaker right side in most of your bi-lateral, compound exercises by putting more of the load on your stronger left side. Over time, this could lead to muscular imbalances, such as what you are experiencing.

Or, perhaps due to your age, you have some sort of damage to your musculature in your right biceps. Try some unilateral, isolation exercises targeting that right biceps and see if you continue to experience these problems.

IOW, don’t use a barbell or a machine with a single solid bar, use two dumbbells (or one arm at a time). Or a machine with separately articulated handles.

BTW, at your age (I’m 54 and have been lifting since I was 27) it is always good to check with the doc when starting a new exercise regimen. Two years into maybe not such an issue.

The insertions for your muscles could be slightly different. Bodies are generally symmetrical, but not exactly so. My calves are different “heights” for lack of a better term.

Another thing could be that you are working one muscle harder; if you do deadlifts with one hand supenated and the other not.

I lift weights and do other forms of exercise that use my arms equally unless I make a point of not doing so, but I also do a great deal in my daily life where I use my dominant arm more, or differently. Hence my right arm looking much more muscularly developed, in particular my deltoid and brachioradialis. Also my right shoulder and arm is pretty much permanently twisted and off-kilter from being extended and pulled for hours each week while walking (and restraining) 100 lbs of enthusiastic dogs for the last 6 years. I try to walk them with my left arm as much as possible but it doesn’t seem to be correcting it.

I (and my yoga instructors) try to even things up and correct various misalignments etc, but it’s hard! Most everyone has these types of asymmetries.

DO you play a lot of tennis? :smiley:

This always sounds like such good advice, but other than advising an unfit individual to build a base before beginning the higher intensity work, and very specific circumstances that most are already aware apply to them (particular injuries, very recent heart attack or heart instrumentation, so on) what sort of typical exercise program would a doctor restrict participation in for whom? And why?

As to the op - there can be lots of reasons, in addition to the ones mentioned, including an old unrecognized small stroke or nerve damage. Yes some individual dumbbell work may help, but more so, it sounds like you are focussing on upper body and perhaps even specifically the “show” muscles. May I suggest that you focus more on the compound moves* that hit the larger muscle groups? Those get the biceps too and will do more to protect/grow your muscle mass during your next two to three decades.

*Exercises like the bench press, dead lift, squat, clean and press, military press, bent over row, pull up, dips, lunges, so on. Just learn good techniques.

I could imagine that if you are on blood pressure medicine, for instance, the doctor may want to monitor your progress in case he needs to adjust your dosage. Other conditions may be similar.

Barely related, but I remember when I took up Scuba diving, I mentioned it in passing to my doctor. His reaction was to give me a tetanus shot since I was more likely to be hanging out underwater with rusty metal. Accidents happen, and he was being proactive.

Point being - I’ve found that letting the doctor decide if there is useful information is often better than deciding by yourself that there isn’t.

-D/a