Why do we do so much unilateral work?
Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts, Single Arm Rows, Single Arm Press/Pushpress, Split Squats and Lunges, Pistols, Turkish Get Ups, Bear Crawls and DB/KB Snatches.
Even those Monkey Hangs we do in our warmups are single limb, unilateral movements.
We live in a very single handed world. Always changing gears with the same arm, moving your mouse with the same hand, kicking a ball with the same foot and slouching over the same hip.
This is your body without structural balance.....
Our bodies are designed to deal with a certain amount, but we can often get out of alignment in the modern world, where these things are accentuated. And then if you add strength training and high intensity conditioning to the mix....... potentially some major imbalance issues there........
And if all of the movements are purely bilateral (both limbs working together - squats, presses, pulls), there is no chance to address and balance out any of the problems.
This is where unilateral movements come in, ensuring that the range of handedness across the body stays within an agreeable tolerance, allowing you to safely maximise the loads used on those bilateral movements which allow us to build optimal strength levels.
How do you find it when we program single arm overhead presses or single leg romanian deadlifts? Is your weaker limb multiple reps behind the dominant? Make sure you address this by always starting your sets with the weak limb, and not exceeding those reps with the dominant one, unless under testing conditions. You could also try adding an extra set to your weak side.
A final reason for programming these? They're more challenging, they demand more focus, and they can be more fun! Yet another way to keep our training varied.
Hang Power Snatch
Max reps Pushups
Or, Strength Circuit
DB Walking Lunges
30-25-15 reps of each, resting approx 60s between sets.
20 Russian Swings
20 Ring Rows
5 x 1.1.1 Building from 80%
Alternate with Ring Dips, 3 sets x Max reps
3 Deads @ 70% of 1RM PSn
3 Hang PSn
3 OH Squats
EM x as many rounds as possible, up to a maximum of 15.