The Primacy of Unilateral Training for Athletes
It’s not just about strength, it’s about conditioning too! You need to train your body with both types of exercises. If you want to perform better in sports, then you have to work out using both types of exercises.
There are many reasons why you might want to do so:
• You don’t like doing one type of exercise because it doesn’t suit your style or technique.
• You prefer another type of exercise but you’re afraid to use it due to its high risk of injury.
• You want to avoid doing certain exercises altogether because they may cause problems in some sport(s) you play.
Unilateral Exercises Are Better For Developing Strength And Power
If you want to develop power, strength and endurance, then it makes sense that you should train them all together. That’s what most coaches and trainers recommend. However, there are some advantages to using only bilateral exercises.
Strength Development Benefits Of Bilateral Exercise Examples
Bilateral exercises are much safer than unilateral ones. They require less time and energy compared to unilateral ones. Because they involve two different muscles groups, they increase muscle mass while decreasing fat mass.
When you combine these benefits with their ability to strengthen the whole body, then you get a huge advantage over other types of training methods.
When you do only unilateral exercises, you’re at a greater risk of getting an injury. These injuries can either be immediate or in the long term. Unilateral exercises are taxing on your body, so you might get tired more easily than usual.
Also, the routines that involve high-impact slamming down on the floor can cause you to become temporarily paralyzed.
Another problem with this type of exercise is the lack of balance it creates. Most people don’t have a center of gravity that’s properly located in the middle of their body. This causes them to fall over or lose their balance when they execute the movement.
To prevent this from happening, you need to strengthen the muscles surrounding your center of gravity first. This will take time and energy and will limit how much strength and power you can gain from these exercises.
Which One Is Better?
Both types of exercises have their pros and cons. Both can make you stronger, fitter and healthier. The choice of which one to use ultimately depends on your current goals. If you want to become a professional athlete that requires great power and speed, then you should practice these exercises daily.
Another case is if you’re suffering from an injury or you have a weak muscle group, then you need to strengthen it first before engaging in this type of training. You need to strengthen your core first to make sure that you can balance yourself when performing these exercises. Always remember to have a spotter next to you just in case something goes wrong during the execution of the routine.
If your goal is to improve your sports performance, then you should limit the amount of unilateral exercises that you do. Stick to the safer and more efficient type of training methods, such as bilateral exercises. Focusing on these types of routines will give you the best results in a shorter period of time.
Of course, you still need to warm up and stretch before and after every routine to prevent injuries and pains on your muscles and joints.
Which type of exercises do you think is better for overall health and fitness?
Sources & references used in this article:
The Primacy of Unilateral Training for Athletes by R Stead – breakingmuscle.com
Effects of strength training on muscle power and serum hormones in middle-aged and older men by M Izquierdo, K Hakkinen, J Ibanez… – Journal of Applied …, 2001 – journals.physiology.org
Athlete eligibility requirements and legal protection of sports participation opportunities by MR Kutz – 2018 – Jones & Bartlett Learning
College sports reform: Where are the faculty? by MJ Mitten, T Davis – Va. Sports & Ent. LJ, 2008 – HeinOnline