Unilateral exercises are an important part of training that may not seem as essential or necessary but can be very beneficial and should be a part of everyone’s routine. The essentials and foundations of training are often considered to be a good technique, proper warm-up, core embrace, etc.
Unilateral exercises refer to working on one side of your body alone. Unilateral dumbbell bench presses, for example, will only work one side of your body. Working unilaterally is more than just adding variety to the session. Unilateral exercises can be tailored to suit the needs of an individual. For example, athletes may choose to imitate more sports-based movements. The following adaptations are beneficial for both athletes and those who are not athletes:
1. Improve your power
Unilateral exercises require a narrow base of support because they are only performed with one limb and not both. Unilateral exercises require more neuromuscular input (the brain works harder) to maintain balance. This means they are more difficult to do and require more muscle recruitment. Unilateral can help the “unused” side as the neurological system is able to transmit cross-over messages between the muscles on the opposite side.
2. Improve balance
Unilateral exercises are more challenging because they have less support. Unilateral exercises will help to strengthen core stability and maintain balance.
3. There is less muscle imbalance
Bilateral exercises can mask weaknesses on one side of the body, so it is better to do unilateral exercises. This can lead to unhealthy patterns that could cause injury if not addressed. Because some exercises may feel harder on one side of the body than the other, it’s important to work both sides equally in order to build a stronger and more balanced structure that will show up in all aspects of your daily life, not just lifting weights.
At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of personal training in Tampa, one-on-one training, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, youth sports training, and nutritional guidance!
There is nothing wrong with bilateral exercises and movements. They are essential to include the whole body in all movements. Unilateral movements must be considered in order to reveal any muscle discomfort or imbalances. Untreated unilateral movements can lead to injury, maladjustment, and compensation. If you plan on training or working out, you should add unilateral movements to the menu. Contact Apex Performance today to get more information and guidance on these movements!