Unilateral Training refers to training one limb at a time, vs two limbs at the same time (Bilateral Training). For example, Lunges and single arm presses or single arm rows are unilateral movements, while back squats, barbell strict press and barbell bent over rows are bilateral movements. If it says “single” anything in front of the movement, its unilateral. Most athletes are exposed to Bilateral exercises first and are familiar with them. They’re effective, however, unilateral movements can help with maximizing performance, preventing injuries and even increasing the output of bilateral movements!
Unilateral movements have plentiful benefits.
- Correcting movement imbalances
In everyday life we develop movement patterns that are not always ideal. For example, when you are standing in line at the grocery store, do you lean to one side of your hip? How about when driving your car, do you sometimes only drive with one arm while leaning onto the other shoulder? These small daily patterns take their tole over time. That’s everyday life, but the same is true with our training. Doing Bilateral back squats can cause compensations within our body’s muscles and cause them to not work optimally. These compensations can cause pain, weakness, and further imbalances over time. Unilateral training can help offset these imbalances, and create a stronger contractions within the muscle. As well as lead you down the path to Gainzville.
- Stability (Especially Core)
Unilateral movements challenge the core substantially. The core has to work harder to keep braced, producing a stable base. Midline stability is one of the most common things we find the everyday person is misses, Unilateral movements will lead to stronger contractions and more control with the joint you are working.
- Injury Prevention
Movement imbalances and compensations from bilateral training can slow down the success of anyone in their fitness endeavors. Correcting those imbalances with Unilateral training allows for someone to work their muscles just as hard, with less weight. This leads to correcting those imbalances, increasing stability, and decreases the likelihood of connective tissue pain (joints and tendons). Basically keeps all the things moving longer and stronger.
- Better Prepared For Everyday Life.
Really, most athletic instances where one would need to be fit in everyday life are based in unilateral movement. Need to sprint to catch your dog that got off the leash? Running is a fast alternating single leg movement. Want to punch me for a programming a nasty unilateral movement? I’d say punching is a unilateral movement. Regularly training unilateral movements to bulletproof your body and will lead to greater overall general physical preparedness. And that ladies and gentleman is really why we do what we do!
We are beginning a new strength cycle next week that will rely heavily on Unilateral movement, and less on bilateral movement. Make sure you are paying attention to the daily programming in class to get all the benefits from this training that you can!