If you have been to the gym or have seen videos of people at the gym, odds are you have seen people using barbell and dumbbells doing your standard lifts like squats and presses, but also doing single leg and single arm movements as well. Why do they do these various movements? What are the benefits in doing bilateral and unilateral work?
Bilateral movements are movements that use both of your arms and/or both of your legs at the same time. Think, back squats, bench presses, deadlifts. Bilateral movements are fantastic for build strength as they will recruit the use of more muscles throughout the body. They also require less balance and coordination to do, and by using more muscle groups, you can also move more total weight.
Unilateral movements are single arm and single meg movements. These movements are great for working on stability, improving and preventing structural imbalances, improving coordination and balance, and isolating certain muscle groups. No, unilateral movements are not sexy, but they are necessary to keep your body healthy and injury free. They should be done in conjunction with bilateral movements to ensure you are progressing and staying healthy in the process.
As you go to put this information into play the next time, you’re at the gym, try starting off with a couple of bilateral movements and finishing with a couple of unilateral movements. Do that for a month or 2 and see where that progress is! If you still feel like you need help with how to structure your training program, let us know and we will be able to help you out!