Unilateral Training

Everyone has a dominant leg and arm.  If you are right handed your right arm is most likely your dominant arm.  It is important to know what your dominant movers are so that you can keep your body balanced.  Your dominant appendages will most likely be stronger and more [or less] flexible and these left/right differences can result in poor posture and ‘less than perfect’ moving mechanics.  If you have low back or shoulder issues targeting training for symmetry may be very helpful and possibly correct problems.

Take girth measurements for your upper arm and your upper thigh marking at the middle of each.  Greater than a 1 centimetre difference is considered significant.  Set flexibility baselines for your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, hip flexors, biceps, triceps and chest. Review your results and if you see big differences for strength, size and flexibility adapt your training with unilateral training. Unilateral meaning one side

Here is a mini assessment chart for you to use.


Good examples of unilateral upper body exercises would be one arm rows, bicep curls, tricep presses and chest presses.  Core stability becomes critical when training.   Focus on keeping your torso square and engaged as you move through your range of motion. 

Lower body unilateral exercises include: One leg front lunge, reverse lunge, split squats, calf raises, hamstring bridge, side leg lifts and one leg balancing both on and off BOSU.

I have seen people do the same program for 10 years never revising to promote adaptation and growth.  That is ok if you want to maintain your current fitness level but useless if you are trying to improve.  Take a moment to assess your symmetry, training and needs.  Look over your assessment and decide on 3 goals based on needs, observations and desires. Your fitness program should always have purpose.  Don’t waste your precious time, maximize it with a targeted program.

If you are unsure of what to do seek help from a trainer, online or from a friend.  You don’t necessarily have to train with a trainer weekly.  If you have confidence that you can stick to your training then try having them design or revise your program every 4-6 weeks and you can go it alone between sessions. This is a great way to get value for your money.    

What will you conquer in Fall 2016?    Start dreaming, set your fitness goals & conquer them. 

Kind regards, Tracie

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