Fancy mixing up your workouts? Here’s why you NEED to give unilateral training a try.
For those of you questioning what unilateral training actually is, the concept is pretty simple.
Unilateral training involves exercises that use only one leg or one arm (for example single arm rows or single arm bicep curls) and adding them to your training programme comes with A LOT of benefits.
We’ve all been there. You’re doing your military press, and one arm is seriously lagging. This is because most of us will have a dominant side. Constantly doing bilateral exercises will only result in you further developing your dominant side.
Put simply; the weaker side gets lazy.
Unilateral training, therefore forces your weaker muscles to work, which can help to rectify muscular imbalances and therefore improve your bilateral training.
Rehabilitation and recovery
Unilateral training is excellent when it comes to aiding recovery.
This is because when you’re training one side of your body, the other side is also stimulated due to something called ‘cross-education’.
Basically, while you’re working one side of your body, the opposite side is also being strengthened – great for if you’re trying to recover from an injury.
We all know that having a strong core is essential and unilateral training can be a great way to help do that.
When you’re only training one side of your body, the offset weight means your core is forced to work harder to keep your upright.
Worth adding it into your workout? ABS-olutely.
You’ll be better at sports
What comes with a stronger core? Increased stability. And what comes with increased stability? Improved athleticism.
Because having good stability is an important part of everyday training and life.
If you’re a rower, runner or a swimmer, having good stability is vital to being to best you can be.
It challenges your body in new ways
Want to mix up your workout and challenge yourself in new ways without having to increase the load?
Well, unilateral training could be a good option for you.
This type of training can be a great way to progress your workouts and challenge your body in new ways without having to add more weight.
Going from a back squat to a single leg squat offers a different type of challenge while still working similar muscle groups.
While unilateral training may not be the priority of your sessions (we always recommend focusing your workouts around bilateral, compound movements), as we have seen, adding these as accessory movements to your weight training sessions comes with many positives.