Last updated on October 12th, 2022 at 04:07 pm
Who else wants to know, “Is it Normal to Have One Bicep Bigger Than the Other?”
Most of us want nothing more than a pumped set of guns.
I mean, there’s nothing that exudes strength, muscularity, and raw sex appeal more than huge pair of biceps.
However, there’s also nothing more frustrating than noticing that one of your bulging biceps happens to be bigger than the other.
Is this normal, and if so, what should you do about it?
Is it Normal to Have One Bicep Bigger?
It is perfectly normal to have one bicep bigger than the other. Most people will typically find that one bicep is up to half an inch bigger than the other. Even professional bodybuilders who constantly strive to build symmetrical physiques will often have a bigger bicep. This is typically because we use our dominant hand for everyday things, so in effect your dominant bicep is getting “trained” more often. However, if your non-dominant bicep is bigger, this points to the fact that you try harder with that side during bilateral bicep exercises, usually without realising it.
1. The Bicep of Your Dominant Arm is Bigger
We all have a more dominant side.
Basically, we are either right-handed or left-handed.
And even someone who is ambidextrous will have a dominant side.
So, the use of our more dominant side typically comes into play in our everyday lives.
I know for a fact that I would rather carry a heavy bag of shopping in my right hand, as opposed to my left.
I will generally pick things up with my right hand.
And even something as simple as getting up from a chair or getting out of the bath will see me favour my right side.
Plus, let’s not forget things like brushing my teeth and pushing or pulling a door open.
All of these things are completely unnoticeable to me, and I’m sure it’s the same for you.
(I’m right-handed just in case you haven’t guessed)
So, just this simple use of my right hand for the vast majority of things on a daily basis will “train” my right-side more than my left.
Okay, it’s not a huge amount, but when you compound this “dominant use” over a period of days, weeks, months, years, decades, etc. it starts to add up.
And this is why it’s completely normal to have one bicep bigger than the other.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was famed for his arms, has a slight difference in bicep size and shape.
If you check the image above you’ll see that his right bicep (on the left as you look at it) has a slightly higher peak.
Plus, even his right tricep is ever so slightly bigger and better defined.
So, if it’s good enough for Arnie, it’s good enough for us.
How Do You Train Your Biceps?
Something else to consider is that if you perform a lot of bilateral bicep exercises, i.e. barbell curls, EZ bar curls, preacher curls, etc. your more dominant side may begin to take over.
In effect, you are training your more dominant bicep more than the less dominant one.
And of course this can make a difference.
So, the next time you are performing one of these exercises, try to really concentrate on lifting the bar equally with both biceps.
I will also say that this real focus on trying to use both biceps equally will increase the mind-muscle connection.
And this will typically lead to better strength and size gains.
2. The Bicep of Your Non-Dominant Arm is Bigger
Something that may seem unusual, but isn’t actually that uncommon, is that the bicep on your non-dominant side is bigger.
In fact, I have known people who state that their more dominant side has the stronger bicep, but the non-dominant side has the bigger bicep.
I think this shows that more strength doesn’t always equate to more size.
One of the main reasons that your non-dominant side’s bicep could be bigger is because you “try harder” whenever you lift.
Let’s say that you’re right-handed and use the barbell bicep curl as an example.
So, as you curl the bar up you typically feel the strain more if your left arm.
Basically, you feel the movement more in your left bicep.
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Then, without actually realising it, you tend to concentrate more on using the left bicep to curl the weight.
It’s almost as though the curl feels easy to the right bicep, so all your effort goes into lifting with the left bicep.
So, in effect, the mind-muscle connection is more concentrated on your left bicep.
I will also say that in this instance there is a tendency to squeeze the bar harder with your left hand.
This adds an isometric contraction into the mix, which may explain the bigger non-dominant bicep.
Isometric contractions are a great way to increase size and muscular development.
The solution here is once again to try to curl the bar while concentrating on using both biceps equally.
I know, easier said than done.
However, once your mind is more focused on achieving this it will become far more natural to do.
Remember, at the moment the likelihood is that you’re putting more effort into your left bicep without even knowing it.
Additionally, going back to your everyday life, you may still be carrying shopping, picking things up, or relying more on your right hand and arm.
So, this could mean that your right side is being constantly “trained” and used, thus making it your stronger side.
However, when it comes to actually isolating and training the biceps, more of your concentration goes into the left bicep.
The outcome is that your right bicep remains the stronger of the two, but your left bicep is being trained better for size gains.
3. How to Train Your Uneven Biceps
Firstly, I will say that if we’re only talking a tiny amount, don’t sweat it.
As you can clearly see, most of us typically have one bicep slightly bigger than the other, even the legend that is Arnie.
However, if there is a noticeable size difference, then it is probably time to do something about it.
Not only will having one bicep over an inch or two bigger than the other look ridiculous, this imbalance could actually lead to injuries.
With that being said, a difference in bicep size is far more noticeable to the individual than it is to other people.
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Okay, the main thing you’re going to want to do if there is a “big” size difference is to train your biceps unilaterally (one at a time).
So, it’s time to dump the plethora of bars and barbells and start concentrating on dumbbells.
Plus, you can of course train cables, kettlebells, and a vast array of other implements unilaterally as well.
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Basically, leave the barbell alone, unless you intend to curl one with each hand.
I’ve heard many people talk about having two different sized dumbbells while doing bicep curls.
Then again, there’s discussion around using the same weight, but curling more with your “weaker” arm.
For me, this just complicates matters, and is likely to cause a muscle imbalance the other way.
There’s just too much that can go wrong here.
So, just stick to using the same weight and same number of reps with each arm.
Plus, you should always start with your weaker arm first.
Let’s say that you want to perform one-arm hammer curls, and you only use one dumbbell at a time (for whatever reason).
Therefore, perform all your reps with your left arm first until you feel fatigued.
As an example you get to 12 reps with your left arm.
Then perform the movement with your right arm and ensure you stop at 12 reps.
It doesn’t matter if you’re capable of doing 15 reps, you should perform the exact same number of reps with each arm.
Sounds pretty simple, right?
You’ll actually find that using this methodology it won’t actually take that much time for your “smaller” bicep to catch up.
In addition to your training I would also suggest that you focus on using your weaker (or smaller bicep) side more often.
This may include carrying shopping, opening doors, and even brushing your teeth (I’ve tried this and it’s more difficult than you think, but you’ll get used to it eventually).
I think Austin Dunham does a great job of explaining about fixing muscle imbalances in the video below.
How to Fix Muscle and Strength Imbalances
Most people will typically have one bicep bigger than the other. We all generally have a “stronger side” and will use this side more dominantly for everyday activities. That being said, if your non-dominant side houses your bigger bicep, this points to the fact that you are putting more effort into lifting and training with that side. This isn’t something to overly worry about, but if you want a more even look then you should train the biceps unilaterally. Plus, look to perform more everyday tasks with your non-dominant arm.
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Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.