Are your main lifts hindering? Do you feel like one arm or leg is working more than the other? Do you have a strong hand? If you said yes to at least 2 of these, fortunately there’s a resolve.
How does one limb get stronger anyway?
There are several reasons behind this. Dominant arm / leg being used more, previous injuries causing compensatory patterns, or everyday movements require more from one limb vs the other.
Regardless of the reason, it’s never a bad idea to incorporate single arm / leg exercises into your routine. Whether you have drastic imbalances or not, performing them will boost core strength, balance out strength deficits, and prevent staleness in your workout routine.
Boosted Core Strength
Take a limb out of a movement and you’re pretty much forced to use your core. Regardless if you lay on a bench and pump out single arm presses or prop your back foot onto a platform a squat down, you cannot move without increased core activation.
Throw in some opposite arm and leg action if you’re feeling open minded, too. Doing so will reinforce balance and coordination.
Previous injuries may be a thing of the distant past, but the aftermath may stay with you. Visible size difference, psychological reluctance, and neural compensations that lead to general weakness can be corrected via unilateral moves.
Neural compensations can be corrected in other interventions as well, but more on that later.
If you’re active and have a been for awhile, you know that the same routine can get old. Very. Old. While it may yield results for the time being, the Law of Accommodation will set in.
Set up your training cycles to alternate bilateral and unilateral movements. It’ll keep you interested, and may get some ideas brewing on how to make these moves more fun. Free weight placement, elevating either foot, adding in a tempo or a pause, etc. The possibilities are legitimately endless.
Increased Bilateral Strength
An added perk is watching your bilateral movements increase. It seems obvious, but worth mentioning. Think about it though, you increase focus and strength on a weaker limb, you’ll likely increase balance, strength, and power in your two-legged/armed exercises.
Tip from the Author
When you’re training your weaker limb, add in 2-3 more reps on it respectively. Doing so will aid not only the strength aspect, but it can help build balance in size as well.
Bilateral training is great, but if you’re noticing weight shifts or lagging movements while performing them, it maybe wise to change it up and train each limb separately. I should also mention that it’s more common than not to notice these. No one’s had a perfect, injury free life. Most people live’s have them doing the same exact motions everyday.
If you want help with modifying or changing your routine, drop a comment below.