No matter what level of training you’re at, there’s always room to improve, and unilateral training is a great way to take your fitness to the next level. Not only will you see increased strength, improved balance, and an increased range of motion, but you’ll also feel healthier and more adept at everyday activities.
Sounds pretty incredible, right?
So, what exactly is unilateral training?
It’s simply the act of training one limb at a time, or putting most of the emphasis on one side, like split squats versus deadlifts. While it might sound simple enough, the benefits are huge. Read on to find out just a few of the ways unilateral training can transform your body and amp up your training.
1. Neutralize Imbalances
One of the best reasons to start unilateral training is to even out any imbalances of strength. Everyone has a weaker side, and if they’re not concentrating during a workout, their stronger side might overcompensate for the weaker side. For example, if you’re lifting a barbell, your stronger side might naturally take most of the weight (without you even realizing). Or, your right side might be able to handle a 20lb weight, so you use two 20lb dumbbells, even though your left side isn’t quite up to par.
This can lead to muscle strain, so it’s important to train your muscles evenly. It’s not as complicated as it sounds: simply figure out what your max weight and rep on your weaker side is, and then train your stronger side at the same pace. While it might feel frustrating to not max out your stronger side, eventually both sides of your body will even out in strength, making your workouts safer and more effective.
2. Improve Core Strength
Unilateral training is fantastic for improving core strength. Core strength has so many benefits, including improved balance, proper posture, protection from injury, and the ability to perform everyday tasks easier. Unilateral training shifts you off balance by training once side at a time, so your other side has to compensate to stay grounded. This gives you well-rounded core strength—without having to do 1,000 torturous crunches. Kind of like hitting two birds with one stone.
3. Functional Strength
Functional strength is all about how easily you can do everyday movements like lifting boxes, squatting down, carrying heavy things, etc. Ensuring your functional strength is on point will make life so much easier, like carrying around your toddler, or helping a friend rearrange their living room without pulling a back muscle. Unilateral training helps you increase your functional strength by challenging your stabilizer muscles, which often get neglected in regular workouts.
To really optimize functional unilateral training, utilize equipment that can help you train, like balance trainers. Balance trainers help you strengthen your small (but super important) stabilizing muscles.
4. Shock Muscles
Regularly switching up your workouts and shocking your muscles is crucial to improving your overall strength and fitness. If you continue to do the same exercises every time you work out, your fitness can plateau—your body just gets too used to it. Unilateral training is a great way to change things up and surprise your muscles, which can lead to better results over time.
Ready to up your A-game and start unilateral training? It doesn’t take long. As little as a couple minutes a day can work wonders to improve your balance, functional strength, overall tone while also decreasing your chance of injury.You can start here, with us. Get onboard our Two Minute, No Limit Challenge. Everyday, there’s a new move to improve your overall strength, and yes, even your unilateral conditioning. Complete the daily challenge on it’s own, or add it to the end of your workout. We guarantee you’ll see — and feel — the incredible results.