When we think of the biggest bang for your buck exercises in the gym, we often first think about a wide variety of bilateral (both sides working at same time) movements. These include squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, jumps, and aerobic movements like rowing.
These movements are all amazing, however when we think about our movements outside of the gym, we are often performing unilateral (single side) movements.
What is Unilateral Training?
This is when we actively train one side of the body at a time which allows us to fully isolate that portion of the body.
5 Benefits of Unilateral Training
By only performing bilateral movements many imbalances may go unnoticed, as we can often compensate for the weaker side.
Unilateral training really challenges your core muscles to support the imbalanced load.
People training for sport should integrate unilateral training as part of their assistance work to safe-guard their bodies and strengthen their movement patterns.
Decrease Chance Of Injury
Unilateral training allows us to isolate specific movements, muscles, and joints to increase symmetry of muscular development and movement. This will decrease the chance of injuries that can often result from overuse, muscular imbalances, or poor movement.
Create Program Variance and Mind/Muscle Connection
New exercises can prevent athletes from overuse and burn out. It can also be a great way to understand how their body moves and discrepancies between each side which will have an impact on mobility drills and accessory work.
Examples of Unilateral Movements
Here are a few examples of the movements we like to incorporate in our training at CrossFit Marrickville:
1. Single Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
2. Seated Single Arm Arnold Press
3. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
4. No Push-Up Renegade Rows
5. Dumbbell Box Step-Ups
6. Single Arm Dumbbell Row
7. Single Arm Dumbbell Front Rack Carry
8. Single Arm Kettlebell Overhead Carry
9. Single Leg Kettlebell RDL
10. Single-Arm Kettlebell Sit-Ups
And the list goes on!If you’re bored of repeating the same movements over and over, and want to change things up, give some of these movements a try and let the gains begin!