One-Sided Training

Unilateral training is your one-way ticket to the next level.



Determine weak points. Do you have a lagging muscle group that’s negatively affecting your symmetry? Do you have form issues with compound lifts, such as the bench press and squat? Examine these things and be honest with yourself — or ask someone else to take a look at what you’re doing and give you their opinion.

Perform unilateral exercises first during training sessions. Since you are stronger at the beginning of a workout, do unilateral exercises first to maximize the amount of weight you can use.

Don’t let the weight being lifted become more important than range of motion. In order for unilateral lifts to be as effective as possible, allow your body to exploit the additional freedom of movement these exercises provide.

Unilateral training strengthens both sides of the body. Although your other side only comes into play in a supportive role — either for balance or to provide structural support to the muscle group being worked — research shows the nontraining side also gains strength. This is known as the contralateral effect.

>> A study from Australia that analyzed 16 investigations of contralateral training reported that the gains in strength of the nonworking side are on the average of over 10%. These results are due to the changes that the nervous system undergoes. How does this help you when you train each side unilaterally? If your resting side is getting a small benefit while the opposite side is working, then doing one set of unilateral exercises for each side is like doing one and a half sets for each side. With two or three sets per side, the resting side gains a contralateral benefit.

Unilateral training helps strengthen the mind-muscle connection, which can lead to even greater muscle growth. Rather than just lifting a weight for a prescribed number of reps, experienced bodybuilders stress the importance of achieving a strong mind-muscle connection to get the most benefit from their training and, thus, make greater gains.


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