Let’s face it, when it comes to overall strength and conditioning, both can play a pretty pivotal and vital roles in everyday life. Take strength for instance. People seem to think that being strong is either for entering strongman competitions, showing off in the gym, or possibly even unscrewing the lids to condiment jars around your house. The truth is however, is that being strong has a large number of benefits and advantages, and not just from an aesthetic standpoint either. Being strong can make household chores and tasks such as moving furniture or a spot of landscape gardening a great deal simpler and easier than if you were an 80 pound weakling. People always assume that in order to build strength, you need to take a barbell, load it up with as many plates as possible, and perform a number of different compound exercises to failure. The truth is however, is that as far as building strength is concerned, unilateral weight training exercises can be so, so beneficial for a whole variety of reasons.
What is unilateral weight training, and can it really improve my strength?
When people talk about unilateral weight training or weight lifting, what they’re basically referring to is the act of lifting weights, only using one limb at a time, as opposed to two. So, say you’re training your biceps for example. If you were to use a barbell or an EZ curl bar, you’d be using both arms at once. If you use dumbbells however, and you perform single arm alternate dumbbell curls, you’ll be performing unilateral lifts as you use your left or right arm first, and then vice versa. Experts believe that unilateral training can help to target bilateral strength in any type of muscle in the body, which they believe can help to improve our overall strength levels. It’s believed that these increases in strength result from users having to work their core more when performing unilateral movements, as they often require more stability to perform safely and correctly.It’s suggested that with regular training, core stabilization muscles will become stimulated as they’ve never had to be used before for prolonged periods of time.
Now, obviously you can't just incorporate a great deal of unilateral exercises into a couple of training sessions and immediately expect to see strength results, but experts believe that with regular weight training sessions, which place an emphasis on a number of unilateral movements, that users can expect to see a strength increase of up to 25% more than their current levels when they first begin.