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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Unilateral Times

If you are squatting, deadlifting and performing olympic lifts you are ahead of 99% of the training population. You can proudly stand on both feet! The only thing more important is that you can proudly stand and perform on one foot!

A lot of beginners will shy away from single leg movements, because they look difficult, but they should do their best to get good instruction and master them. Advanced trainees forget them, because the weight on the bar isn't as impressive as they wish. Busy people think they take too much training time. These are just some of the excuses that people have. And I ignore them all.

Why I love unilateral work:

* It helps to even out imbalances. Just imagine squatting a 5RM with just one of your glutes firing on time

* It allows you to load your lower body without overloading your lower back. Just compare a 100 lb lunge to a 220 lb squat!

* It helps you work your core without performing extra work for your core muscles

* It's metabolically expensive. It takes more calories to perform a longs set of lunges than a shorter set of squats and it will surely stir metabolic havoc for hours after you are done training

* It has immense carryover to work on both feet. Next time your deadlift stalls, include a one leg dealift variety for a month and then go back to conventional deadlifting

* It translates to a stronger and more injury free YOU every time you sit in your car, climb upstairs, go downstairs, step and lift something off the floor, get in and out of bed and run to catch a taxi

Here are my top 5 favorite unilateral exercises along with some tips:

It's the beauty queen of lower body single leg work. Start holding on to a partner, a high pulley set to enough resistance to pull you back up,or a thick resistance band. Work your way to negatives and full pistol squats. Adding weight to the exercise is tricky, using a plate to hold in front of your chest is the best you can do. Kettlebells are also an option. If you lack flexibility, you can do airborne lunges instead.


You can keep your rear leg on a bench or just bent behind you. Make sure your pelvis stays straight and does not rotate during the movement.


I like front reverse lunges, but back loading will do, too. Make sure you lunge straight up before you take your step forward.


The pride and joy of all Bulgarian gyms. Just kidding, no one's even heard of it. Place your barbell in front of a bench and prop the rear leg behind, as in a Bulgarian squat.


It will break you if you do it right. Take a step to the side and sit back. Make sure you use your glutes to squat and push back out to starting position.

Try to include at least two of them each time you plan a new workout cycle! It's worked wonderfully with most of my clients and females love the aesthetic results!
It only comes to show better performance precedes better looks!

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