How To Even Out Biceps If One Is Bigger Than The Other

How To Even Out Biceps If One Is Bigger Than The Other

When we are training with two of the same muscle group, it is common for one to get bigger than the other, this is especially the case with the biceps.

Now, how do you even out biceps if one is bigger than the other? To even out biceps when one is bigger than the other, we must incorporate some sort of single arm work, this can include a variety of dumbbell and cable exercises such as alternating dumbbell curls or alternating hammer curls.

It can be difficult to combat asymmetrical body parts as they appear, especially in the arms, as they are more visible to others

So, in this article I will…

  • Explain how asymmetries appear in biceps training
  • Help you determine whether or not you have uneven biceps
  • Identify why your biceps are even and how to fix them
  • How to program for your biceps to fix asymmetries

Do You Have Uneven Biceps? How To Tell

EZ Bar Bicep

Sometimes it can be extremely apparent that our biceps are uneven, and other times not so much. Uneven biceps are often symptomatic of training both arms at the same time too often or from favoring one side too often during daily tasks. 

Here I will help you identify whether or not your biceps are uneven based on a strength deficit or measurements.

Bicep Strength

During the course of a set of bicep curls we might often notice that one side might be lagging behind. As one side begins to accumulate fatigue faster by reaching failure, this could mean that the side lagging behind is weaker than its counterpart.

To test this take two dumbbells in each arm and do a set of alternating curls to failure. When you have a bicep imbalance, one side will reach its endpoint much sooner.

Uneven Bicep Size

Uneven bicep size can be more visible and apparent to others, but can be overlooked if you aren’t looking close enough. Take a measuring tape to each arm and see whether or not one side is bigger than the other, anything greater than half of an inch can be more noticeable.

Is Having One Bicep Bigger Than The Other Normal?

It is extremely common to have one bicep that’s bigger than the other, and not quite as problematic as you’d think. 

Depending on who you are, the main issue that arises is self esteem related which can be bothersome. Especially if one is a competitive bodybuilder, uneven biceps should be addressed to promote a symmetrical physique for competitions.

4 Reasons Why Your Biceps Are Uneven & How To Fix

A common misconception is that we should be training the lagging bicep harder than its counterpart to even out bicep size, when this is not the case, loading each arm evenly will effectively bring both biceps to an even size.

In the following points I will mention scenarios that result in uneven biceps and how we can go about fixing this when it occurs.

Bicep Curls With Both Arms

Biceps become uneven when one arm gives out during a two arm exercise and the other takes over. This way one bicep experiences greater fatigue and strengthening for more repetitions. To fix this incorporate more dumbbell and single arm work over fixed straight bar variations of bicep curls.

Mixed Grip With Deadlift

When using a mixed grip while deadlifting, the hands will grip the bar differently, and as a result develop each side of the body to a different degree. Fortunately, incorporating a lot of accessories such as single arm rows and bicep curls can help even out asymmetries that occur while deadlifting.

Favoring One Side During Daily Activities

It is so common for our nondominant arm to execute bigger movements, like holding a door open, while our dominant hand is used for more precise movements like twisting a door knob. 

An unfortunate consequence of this is the uneven development of the right and left side of the body. And this can be evened out by addressing individual biceps or limbs when we are training.

Recovering From Bicep Injury

Bicep tears are extremely common, and can happen from pulling mixed grip, playing sports, and a variety of other settings.

Detraining usually occurs from the inability to train after injury, and leads to muscle loss and degeneration. Incorporating additional bicep work can help even out any muscle lost during this period of not being able to train. 

One Arm Bigger Than The Other: Exercises To Help 

Alternating Supinated Curls

By effectively hitting the entire bicep and the forearm muscles, the alternating supinated curls are my favorite curl variation. Having big arms is more than just the isolation of the triceps and biceps, there are many small muscles in the forearm and upper arm that contribute to a balanced and even arm.

How To

  • Start with the dumbbells resting at your sides, palms facing towards you.
  • Initiate the curl with your nondominant arm by rotating at the wrist until your palm is facing up.
  • To further contract your bicep lean into the side of the arm that is curling the weight.
  • Then return the hand back to your side, and repeat previous steps for the desired repetition count.

Single Arm EZ Bar Curl Machine

The EZ bar curl machine is typically going to be at your commercial gym. This one is my favorite bicep curl machine because it can concentrate the entire loading onto the bicep. If you don’t have one of these machines available to you, you can do a single arm preacher curl with a dumbbell as an alternative.

How to

  • Make sure that the pad is right below your armpit as you place both arms over the padding.
  • Let the handle rest in one of your hands.
  • Maintain total body stiffness to concentrate the loading onto the bicep rather than compensating with your torso.
  • Curl the handle towards you, then complete the repetition by returning the arm into extension.
  • Repeat for desired repetition count before switching to the other side.

Single Arm Zottman Curls

Single arm zottman curls are great for building forearm strength and evening out biceps size. Zottman curls are similar to the supinated curls but add an extra movement of outward rotation at the top which helps target the forearms as well as the biceps. Even so, when programming I would incorporate either supinated curl or a zottman curl and not both.

How To

  • Start with the dumbbells resting at your sides, palms facing towards you.
  • Initiate the curl with your nondominant arm by rotating at the wrist until your palm is facing up.
  • To further contract your bicep lean into the side of the arm that is curling the weight.
  • Rotate the wrist outward until your palm is facing away from you.
  • Then return the dumbbell to the starting position at your sides.
  • Repeat these steps for the desired repetition count.

How To Program For Uneven Biceps

Here I have provided several everyday bicep curl training programs to even out the biceps with a variety of rep ranges, variations, and intensities: `

Rope Curl

Program Example #1

  • Alternating Supinated Curls: 3 x 10E @60%
  • Single Arm EZ Bar Curl Machine: 3 x 10E @60%
  • Rope Hammer Curls: 3 x 12 @70%

Program Example #2

  • Single Arm Zottman Curls: 5 x 5E @75%
  • Alternating Hammer Curls: 4 x 10E @80%
  • Single Handle Bicep Curls: 4 x 15E @65%
  • Single Arm Side Curls: 3 x 10E @55%

Rules To Follow When Trying To Even Out Your Biceps

how to program for uneven biceps

Always Start With the Weaker Bicep

By starting with the weaker or smaller bicep we will be able to understand when the point of fatigue occurs, then subsequently finishing the set with the stronger bicep.

If we start with the stronger bicep we might get an extra rep on the bigger side which will only continue to increase the discrepancy between each side.

Achieve Equal Repetitions With Both Biceps

In training, any physiological response is going to be a result of the amount of volume and fatigue that we place on the body.

Our main goal should be to build as symmetrical a body as we can, therefore we should aim for equal volume and fatigue for both sides of the body.

Specifically for the biceps, make sure we are achieving the same exact repetition count per side for each of the sets that we do.

Focus On The Eccentric

Tempo reps are a great tactic in achieving greater fatigue to even out the biceps.

Most of our growth and tension will occur during the eccentric or the lowering of the movement. 

Start with curling up as you normally would then controlling it back to the starting position for a count of 3-4 seconds. 

Other Bicep Resources

Final Thoughts

Uneven biceps are very common and are often not a big deal. Simply adding single arm work can be a quick fix to evening out the arms. Trying out one of the workouts that were mentioned in this article can be the first step towards building your biceps evenly.


About The Author

Javad Bakhshinejad

Javad Bakhshinejad was born and raised in the Washington Area. Currently, he is a student at Seattle University where he’s been pursuing an MS in Kinesiology, and has been a Strength Coach in the athletic department. He was a competitive bodybuilder for 8 years where he later transitioned to competitive powerlifting for 4 years. Currently, He has his own personal coaching business, where he works with powerlifters and bodybuilders.