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  1. #1
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    chest/back imbalance

    I honestly don't know what I read or heard that gave me this impression, but I've been under the assumption that you should be able to row and bench press around the same weight, and if you can't, you've got a muscle imbalance. Which is bad. I went up to 35s in my dumbbell row today. I was able to do 3 sets of 8 without much of a struggle, so I'm assuming it won't take that long to be able to progress to 40s. OTOH, I've been dumbbell bench pressing 25s for the better part of a month and I still struggle to get 3 sets of 8-10.

    1.) Is this a problem or am I totally mistaken? 2.) If it *is* a problem, what do I do about it? Stop increasing the weight on my back exercises until my chest catches up? Really push my chest by going up even if I can only squeak out four or six reps? Something else? Help!
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  2. #2
    PL Meet Incoming! MaliaBot's Avatar
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    I have never heard of this. I can barbell bench press about 115lbs for 6 reps (last time I tried) and I currently bent over barbell row 80lbs for 6 reps. I do the NRoL4W, so I doubt that it has anything to do with my routine, and I always attempt to keep adding more weight.

    This is all my experience, though. If this is a "thing" I will need to modify too.
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  3. #3
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    Ah, you're the opposite, you bench more than you row! Thanks for the data point. I'm just really curious about this now.
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  4. #4
    Maximum Ham thehobbes's Avatar
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    Yeah OP, I've heard the same thing, so I think your db bench and db rows should be pretty equal to avoid problems. But you're saying you currently do about the 35s for rows and the 25s for bp? That should be fine, not a huge difference. Now if somebody was rowing the 80s and stuck at like 30s on bench then that's a problem that needs to be fixed. I would just keep going along trying to progress in both areas, but if your rowing starts getting drastically farther ahead then back it off and hit that chest to catch up. My bench used to overpower my rowing, but after working on it now my db lifts for both are exactly the same. Now I just have to get my weak military press up to the same skill level as bench, haha, it's always something.
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  5. #5
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    Thanks so much! If you don't think my imbalance is too much of an imbalance, that's reassuring. Of course now I'm going, "but everyone else's chest is stronger than their back...what's wrong with meeeee?" hahaha It is always something!
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  6. #6
    Registered User BestYearEver's Avatar
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    I don't think they have to be as matched as, say, strength on the left and right sides of your body. Unaware of any specific ratios for this.

    The bad imbalance between back/front frequently results from lots of time spent with bad posture -- think sitting hunched over a computer keyboard, with upper back rounded and shoulders rolled forward. This leads to stretched, weak back muscles and overtight chest muscles. Plus, think of all the guys whose entire workouts revolve around various forms of curls and bench work. If this imbalance is not corrected, the shoulders can end up in unstable, compromised positions that lead to shoulder injuries.

    I have never heard any corresponding scare stories about the opposite situation. But since back muscles are bigger than pecs, it doesn't seem unreasonable that your back would be stronger than your chest. You probably started out with good posture too and didn't have to correct the opposite imbalance!
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  7. #7
    PL Meet Incoming! MaliaBot's Avatar
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    I had a coworker who started doing a lot of pushups. That's it. He said he started hunching forward, shoulders curling. Then he started doing pullups too. It sure did help.
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  8. #8
    Gone Primal KimPossible98's Avatar
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    OP, what's the weaker part with the DB bench? Does it feel like a shoulder weakness issue or a chest muscle issue?
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  9. #9
    doing what i can. jagadzie's Avatar
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    I'm with ya, OP. I db row 45s and db chest press 35s. Not a huge dif but my back is stronger. I think that that is fine and healthy, as long as the difference is not huge. That back of body/posterior chain stuff ...
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  10. #10
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KimPossible98 View Post
    OP, what's the weaker part with the DB bench? Does it feel like a shoulder weakness issue or a chest muscle issue?
    That's a good question. Lemme really pay attention the next time I do them and report back.
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  11. #11
    BittyBro dreahere's Avatar
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    Okay, I'm back. I think it is definitely chest rather than shoulders. When I reach failure, I'll get the dbs about halfway up, and while my arms will be shaking a little, the sensation is that there's no power left in my pecs to push up any further.
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