“Imbalances will result in limited mobility, hinder our strength gains, cause muscle stiffness, and increase the risk of injury…One of the best fixes for muscle imbalances is incorporating single arm and single leg movements.”
The majority of people deal with muscular imbalances, which may hinder them in their training, as well as their day-to-day life activities. Many of us favor one side more than the other causing one side of the body to become stronger than the other. These tend to exist mainly in body parts that are more mobile, such as the shoulders, hips, and thoracic spine. Whether you are lifting a barbell or picking up a box off the ground, the dominant side will overtake the weaker side and cause your body to be put into a bad posture. Imbalances will result in limited mobility, hinder our strength gains, cause muscle stiffness, and increase the risk of injury.
So what can you do about it?
One of the best fixes for muscle imbalances is incorporating single arm and single leg movements. Unilateral work is an essential part of a training program. When using a barbell, the stronger side is overactive and will cause you to automatically favor that side even though you may not realize it. In using single limb movements, we are able to isolate the working muscle groups, one side at a time, and ensure the loading is even on opposing limbs. An additional bonus of unilateral work is that it is great for targeting the abs. When performing these movements you are forced to engage your core in order maintain balance throughout the range of motion in performing the movement.
What are good unilateral movements to do?
*Single arm farmer carries
*Single arm overhead carries
*Bent over one-arm dumbbell rows
*Half-kneeling presses*Side Planks
*Single Leg RDLs
When should I do unilateral work?
*In class! Don’t blow these off and just go through the motions when they come up in class. Really focus on keeping the core tight, moving with a purpose and using weights that allow you to keep good posture throughout the full range of movement.
*Before Class! These can be a great warm-up exercise to prime the muscles before performing the main lifts.
*After Class! Work these in after the WOD to use as a cool down before you head out of the gym
*Personal Training! One-on-one sessions are a great way to target your individual weaknesses and develop a plan to address your specific goals.