Unilateral training is defined as a form of training that only affects one side, muscle, or structure of the body. This effective yet often overlooked form of training adds several benefits to your routine. Whether you’re bodybuilding, powerlifting, training for sport, or just a weekend warrior, you should include unilateral training somewhere in your workout. Here’s what you’re missing out on:
1. Unilateral Training Creates Symmetry
Is your left arm bigger than your right? Or maybe one pec is slightly larger than the other. Chances are you’re left-side or right-side dominant. Unilateral training forces you to focus all of your attention on one limb or one muscle at a time. Over time your muscles will become more symmetrical creating a more balanced physique.
2. Unilateral Training Balances Strength
Similar to my first point, maybe one side is stronger than the other although not necessarily noticeably bigger or smaller. Unilateral training addresses this issue by forcing you to exert the same energy on each side of your body. Maybe you’ve noticed some people in your gym dumbbell pressing and one arm locks out at the top while the other arm only comes up about 80% of the way. Unilateral training helps you make sure you’re completing each rep on either side of your body.
3. Unilateral Training Works Your Core More
By placing resistance on only one side of your body you’re forcing your body to have to stabilize itself. To do so you have to activate your core to keep your trunk, hips or shoulders stable. Unilateral training forces you into an effective ab workout with each set, even if you thought you were only working your triceps, pecs or legs.
4. Unilateral Training Creates Variety
Every training program needs variety to be fun and successful. Doing the same workouts over and over again becomes stagnant, eventually you’ll lose interest and progress. Try doing single arm lat pull down instead of your regular lat pulldown workout to spice things up and see some new results.
Here are some Unilateral Training Exercises to add to your routine!
+ Exploding Single Leg TRX Squat
+ Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Press
+ Single Leg Leg Press
+ Single Arm Behind the Neck Tricep Extension
+ Single Arm Dumbbell Row
I may only do one or two Unilateral Exercises in my daily routine but it’s enough to make sure each muscle is equally strong and symmetrical on either side of my body. Balance is key. Try it out and see the difference for yourself.