To challenge the body to change, it is important to have an array of training methods to use. Unilateral training is a necessity to enhance force production, avoid compensation issues while lifting and engage more muscles. Unilateral training means using one limb to perform a weighted exercise or stabilising a load on only one side of the body. Lifting weight with one side of the body recruits more of the stabiliser muscles often neglected during bilateral training (means using both limbs or even weight distribution).
More calories get burnt and there is a more even distribution of strength throughout the body, decreasing overcompensation patterns and injury. The body’s mechanics are greatly improved with the synergy of these muscles, increasing coordination and more seamless movements for athletic performance.
With unilateral movements, you will build more strength without having to load the body with heavier weights. Give it a try!
Here is an example of a unilateral routine for the full body. You can download the full unilateral training routine for each muscle group here.
Featured photo: Ryan Terry (IFBB Pro)
Original article by Lindsay Kent (Former Junior Olympian)
Many of you would agree with me that several guys and ladies go to the gym very regularly, train hard consistently, improve on their personal best every time, however, they do all these with poor or average technique or form. These same people probably do everything else by the book such as eating clean, sleeping adequately and so on, but still never get the results they want in regards to physique.
Having a good physique does not come with benching the heaviest weights in the gym or enduring the longest reps, or running the longest miles on the treadmill. Absolutely not! A good physique is achieved by paying close attention to each muscle group being trained such that you get as much possible muscle fibers in that group actively involved. For this to be achievable, effective training technique needs to be implemented.
- Rep Range: Depending on your goal, fewer reps are usually accompanied by heavier weights which are mostly for increasing muscle size; while higher reps are usually accompanied with lighter weights and are mostly used for improving muscle definition and burning fats in that muscle region.
- Squeeze: Working on your chest but your shoulders seem to be the ones contracting the most or working on your back but your biceps are getting all the squeeze? Then you’re doing it completely wrong. When training, the muscle being trained should be the muscle feeling majority (I’d say at least 85%) of the contractions. And as you do this, ensure you get in as much squeeze on each rep as you can possibly get on that muscle.
- Weight: “Cut your coat according to your size”, sound familiar? Depending on how many reps and how many sets you intend to do, chose your weights wisely. Personally, I always recommend choosing a weight that by the time you get to your second set, you can already feel your muscles getting pumped. Never chose a weight that is too heavy or too light for your strength. Be very wise with this. Your body knows how much it can take, if you use a weight too light, your chances of developing are minimal, and if you chose a weight too heavy, your chances of getting injured are higher, plus you would not be able to train effectively. If you struggle with a weight on the first set, it probably would be too heavy for you to complete your sets. The only time I would agree with using weights heavier than your strength level is when you are trying to reach new boundaries, however, whichever set you chose to do this on should not be counted as part of your main sets. With this also, bad form is acceptable. However, you are building a good physique, not power lifting!
- Control: In weight training, you are either pulling the weight towards you or pushing it away. Whichever circumstance it is, it is very important that you maintain total control of the weight when it’s returning to its original state i.e the starting position. This way you’re keeping the muscle fully active even when bringing the weight to rest.
- Posture: Just as posture is important in how you sit, stand, walk and so on, so is it also important when training. For instance, the arched back – ass out posture is the standard posture for performing any upper body exercise especially the back. This way you can get more contraction in whichever muscle group being trained. For standing bicep curls, arching the back and slightly bending the knees can help you keep your arms locked to the side, lift heavier, contract more, and so on.
- Grip: Wide, close, forward, reverse and any other kind of grips you know. Personally, I like to frequently mix these up as each type of grip would work the muscles from different angle thereby resulting in an all – round well-defined and shredded look. However, if you are new to training, I would advise you use a regular grip, build strength and confidence, then start to mix things up slowly.
Along with hard work, consistency, good diet, and the other contributing factors, one thing that has highly enhanced my speedy development is my attention to my technique and form when working out.
Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing right. So now, go and make all those hours you consistently dedicate to hitting the gym count, and get in the best shape of your life.
For my training routines, click here.