Usually when we workout we think of using both of our arms and legs. It has become the norm with using dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, etc. But there are some VERY great benefits of working each side or limb separately.
1) Increased Core Stability
The core plays a key role in transferring force throughout the body, and it powers every movement we do. In addition it protects our spine when we lift heavy objects. When you train with one arm or leg, you usually find yourself leaning, and to resist this you engage your core and keep yourself level.
2) Helps Reduce Asymmetries
Asymmetries are when one side of our body is moving differently than the other and/or moving inefficiently. For example in the squat, the right knee will may track directly over the feet ( correct) whereas the left knee may move outward (inefficient). Asymmetries can stem from a variety of things including: Previous or current injuries, strength differences, reduced range of motion in joints, muscle tightness, etc. What happens is you develop inefficient movement patterns from these asymmetries, which can lead to injury or pain. When you are working one limb at a time, you focus more on the exercise and the limb doing the work, you are evenly working each muscle in each limb, thus providing more efficient movement patterns and force applications to the muscle. Not all asymmetries can be cured this way alone ( it really depends on what is causing it), but from a general stand point this is a good method to employ.
3) Increased Muscle Time Under Tension
Three ways in which muscle grow are: increased tension (aka weight), micro tears (increase repetition), and tempo (amount of time muscle is doing work). The unilateral sets will take you twice as long to complete, which really doubles your muscles normal time under tension. You will get bigger and stronger.
For an example of an upper body unilateral exercise, click HERE
Do you have a favorite unilateral exercise you like to do? Share it with me on my Facebook Page!