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5 unilateral exercises that you must do to correct the imbalances of your body – UnlistedNews

What are unilateral exercises and how do they help you? Lounge talks to fitness trainers to find out



Exercise is essentially a Pandora’s box, full of surprises. How else would you explain your coach finding new ways to make you sweat every day? To keep the fitness journey interesting and to get the most benefits from exercise, the body must move out of its comfort zone.

One way to do this is to perform unilateral exercises, a new take on the familiar exercises. Think squats and do it with one leg, take Arnold’s press and do it one hand at a time as he kneels, or try a one-arm lateral pulldown. Unilateral workouts are based on the simple concept of “one step at a time,” says Rishabh Telang, a fitness expert at Cult.fit. “Unilateral workouts are exercises that focus on one side of the body at a time,” he explains.

Unilateral exercises should be a part of everyone’s training program, regardless of goals, as they play a critical role in treating muscle imbalances in your body, says Abraar Khan Waryah, co-founder and head trainer of Gridiron Fitness Studio in Calcutta. “You hit your core a lot more when doing unilateral movements, so a stronger core is another benefit you get. These moves also improve your stability,” he adds.

Whether it’s strength training, training for a running event, or recovering from injury, unilateral exercises play an important and prominent role. Nirupma Singh, a Bangalore-based running coach and co-founder of Kaizen Runners, includes exercises and unilateral exercises in her training routine. “In addition to developing explosive power and running, runners also need to develop unilateral stability so that it all comes together during the run,” says Singh.

Telang points out that unilateral exercises allow for targeted strengthening and controlled progression, which is why they are used to rehabilitate specific muscles or joints after injury. Performing these movements also helps improve muscle deficits. “When it comes to weight training, lifters should have unilateral workouts in their repertoire. You can help them achieve safer, more stable lifting mechanics by eliminating any side-to-side deficiencies. This could result in improved power transmission and higher lifts,” adds Telang.

Human bodies have imbalances. We all have a stronger side, a stronger arm, or a more dominant foot. By resorting to unilateral exercises, we eliminate the compensatory act of the stronger side of our body. These exercises help correct muscle imbalances by focusing on each side independently. This leads to better muscle balance and symmetry, which reduces the risk of injury and improves overall aesthetics, Telang says.

Unilateral exercises challenge coordination and proprioception, which is one’s awareness of one’s body in space, and therefore improve both. Training each side, separately, improves our neuromuscular coordination, which leads to better movement patterns and overall motor skills. Since unilateral exercises often mimic real-life movements, which are often asymmetrical and require individual limb strength, we can improve our functional strength, making daily activities and athletic performance more efficient. In addition, these exercises also strengthen the stabilizing muscles around our joints, thereby improving joint stability and reducing the risk of injury. By addressing muscle imbalances, Telang explains, these moves promote optimal joint alignment and mechanics.

People who play sports that involve asymmetrical movements or specific dominant sides, such as badminton, tennis, squash, or golf, can greatly benefit from unilateral exercises. This is because these exercises help improve muscle balance, coordination, and functional strength, which translates to better performance and a lower risk of injury. For those of you who are at that stage of your fitness journey where you’re getting tired of the same old routines, unilateral movements can add variety and help keep workouts engaging and challenging.

“They can also help break through plateaus by targeting muscles in different ways, stimulating new growth and development,” says Telang. Unilateral exercises are particularly helpful for those recovering from injuries, particularly to specific joints or muscles. These movements allow for targeted rehabilitation, helping to rebuild strength, improve stability, and restore balance between the injured and uninjured sides.

Five unilateral exercises you should try: If you are new to unilateral movements, consult a qualified fitness professional for guidance before attempting them. Start with a proper weight, don’t compromise on form.

Romanian single leg deadlift: Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand, lean forward at the hips as you lift one leg behind you. Keep your back straight and lower the weight toward the floor, then return to the starting position. This move targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

Bulgarian Split Squat: Stand with one foot forward and rest the top of your back foot on a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand or a barbell across your shoulders. Lower your body by bending your front knee while keeping your torso upright, then return to standing position. This move targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

Single Arm Dumbbell Row: Place one hand and knee on a bench and hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand. Pull the dumbbell toward your waist, keeping your elbow close to his body, then lower it back down. This movement targets the muscles of the back, particularly the latissimus dorsi.

Single Arm Overhead Press: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand at shoulder height, palm facing forward. Press the weight overhead while keeping your core contracted and your body stable, then lower back down. This move targets the shoulders, triceps, and core.

One-armed farmer transport: Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand at your side, walk while maintaining an upright posture, and engage your core muscles. Repeat on the other side. This move targets the shoulders, arms, and core. It also improves grip strength.

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Waya book on functional fitness.

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Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.
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