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Unilateral training

Most of us have one side of the body that is stronger than the other. Most athletes are aware that one of your legs and/or arms takes most of the burden when doing an exercise or sport. Frequently it is the side you write with. One way to correct imbalances is by doing unilateral training - that is by using one leg or one arm to perform an exercise.

Unilateral training is good for correcting muscle imbalances, but it also helps with rehab after an injury and prevention, it helps develop more muscle recruitment, which means your workload can be more intense and it helps to improve balance.

Here’s a sampling of exercises you can do. Do 12 reps with one limb and then switch, 3 sets each.

Single leg squats

Face away from a bench. Standing on one leg, and keeping your knee over the standing ankle, sit down, making sure to control the motion. Stand up. Once this begins to feel easy do it without the bench.


Take a box that’s lower than your knee. Keeping one foot on the box, lift up till you are fully standing on that leg. Slowly lower your other leg down. Make sure your knee stays over the standing ankle and control the motion.

Single leg Romanian dead lift

Standing on one leg, lift your chest up and over till your torso is parallel to the floor. Make sure your back is straight and your non-standing leg is straight behind you. Slowly lift up till your torso is upright. Stay on the one leg and try not to touch down with the opposite leg.

Single arm cable row

Adjust the weight to about half of what you would do with two arms. Give yourself a stagger stance (one leg in front of the other, hip distance apart) and row.

Single arm chest press bench

This will really challenge your core, so it’s important to stabilize on the bench. Keeping your shoulders on the bench and without twisting lift up into a chest press. And slowly lower.

Single arm overhead military press.

This will also challenge your core, so it’s important to stabilize. Lift one arm up to an overhead military press. Slowly lower down to starting position. If you want to challenge yourself stand on one leg while you do this.

Bilateral training is important so keep doing it, add in unilateral exercises and in no time you will start feeling stronger and more balanced.

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