When we think about training from the waist up, we usually think about blasting our core and sculpting our arms, chest and back. And we should. Building strength and stability across our upper half is an insanely important part of creating strong, sexy, capable bodies. This said, creating comprehensive strength and stability is impossible if you don't also have balance.
Balance is imperative to creating a physique that not only looks sweet, but performs at peak. From a purely aesthetic point of view, creating balanced muscle strength between the left and right side of your body will create symmetrical body proportions. From the all-important performance perspective, putting the time and effort into creating an equally capable left and right quadrant will help you train each side of your body in harmony, thereby strengthening joints and ligaments and preventing injuries.
The obvious answer is simple: you’re going to work at it. How you’re going to work at it may be less obvious.
It’s called unilateral training, and you’re going to use it to train your left and right side independently. So, if you are doing rows or shoulder presses, do your left side, and then your right side, or vice versa. The point is to not do both sides at once, and to not use any equipment that would require you to use both sides at once, like barbells. Instead, opt for gear that allows you to use one side at a time, like dumbbells or a Challenger Bar.
If you can’t balance your own bodyweight, there’s not much hope of you being able to effectively create balance with weights. Include unilateral bodyweight exercise as part of your balance training. Single arm pull-ups using the BodyRock Challenger Bars are a solid option. This single move works for arms and back, and will really highlight strength imbalances between your left and right side. Don’t get discouraged when you notice them. We all have one side that’s naturally a stronger than the other: this is our dominant side. However, if you want to see the best results from your workouts, keep training unilaterally to minimize any massive ability gaps.
In addition to training your core and upper body both separately and unilaterally, also train your entire upper left and right sides together. Side planks are great since they work one of your arms and one side of your core at a time. If standard side planks are super easy, enlist the help of that Challenger Bar again. By forcing balance your lower body from an elevated vantage, the Challenger puts more positive stress on your upper half. Your unilateral arm and core strength will be pushed, and this — this point where are comfort zone ends — is where we start to really see results. Go after them!
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