Blair and Lauren and Unilateral Weight Training
(BLAIR MOREAU - MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) - When we perform an exercise with one arm or leg instead of using them both it is called "unilateral" weight training. Unilateral exercises allow you to focus on each limb working independently of each other, which can create some great benefits.
• Unilateral work enables you to discover and address weaknesses and imbalances.
• Core strengthening: In any single arm or leg movement, the body will have the natural tendency to lean in order to accommodate the load being lifted. Keeping your body straight means twice as much workout for the core.
• Joint strengthening: The instability of using dumbbells or kettelbells incorporates much more effort from your joint capsules (shoulders, elbows, wrists) to steady the load.
• Caloric Burn: When exercising one limb after the other, usually takes more time. This means more time spent under the weight intensity, meaning more calories burned, and more enhanced training effect
If you're looking at becoming leaner, you should incorporate a great deal of unilateral training in your exercise program to complement the bilateral training. Here are a couple of my favorite unilateral exercise movements. Exercise tip, practice using good form with a light weight and use slow and in control movements.
• Standing One Arm Shoulder Press: Stand with dumbbell positioned near shoulder, chest high, abdominals tights, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and opposite hand resting on hip. Contract your abs and press the dumbbell upward until the arm is extended overhead. Hold for a second and return to starting position. Do as many reps as possible then switch sides.
• Standing One Arm Dumbbell Front Raise: Hold a dumbbell with your arm fully extended down by your thigh in front of your body, using an overhand grip (palm facing you). Place you opposite had one your abs, chest out and feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Slowly raise your arm straight out in front of your body, palm will eventually face the floor. Keep a slight bend in your elbow. Move only the shoulder, keeping your body as still as possible, continue raising the dumbbell out in front of you until the arm is just above should level. Pause and then return to the starting position. Repeat for as many reps as possible then perform the opposite arm.
• Standing One Arm Bicep Curl: Start by grabbing a dumbbell palm facing away, arm fully extending in front down by your thigh in front of you. Place the non-exercise hand on your abs, shoulders back, and feet shoulder width apart, remember posture is very important. Start with your weaker arm and curl the dumbbell up as far as possible. Squeeze the bicep at the top of the exercise; slowly lower the weight (slow and in control) to the starting position. Repeat the exercise as many times as possible then repeat with the other arm.
• Bent Over Single Arm Dumbbell Row: Grab a dumbbell using a neutral grip. Bend at the hips, knees slightly flexed and feet in a staggered stance. Place one hand on the chair, chest high, back flat abs tight and head up. Slowly pull the dumbbell us as far as possible, pause, squeezing your shoulder blade to the center of your body, and then slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat the exercise for as many times as possible and then do the other side.
Try unilateral exercises in your program to blast metabolism, strengthen and tone muscle, fix weaknesses, and achieve some good solid gains.