Q&A: What’s the Benefit of Training Only One Side of the Body at a Time?
One of my clients asked me this question the other day. Actually, it was more like, “I know you’ve explained this a hundred times but I wasn’t really listening, so tell me AGAIN what the benefit is…???”
That shirt would make a great gift…
But as one of my favorite professors used to say, “In any event, let’s move about.”
Simply put, unilateral training is just about the most advanced and functional way there is to train the core. Despite the way we’ve been taught to train it, it rarely works to do isolated movements like those we perform on the floor. It’s main job is really to provide stability in the presence of outside forces that attempt to move and potentially damage the spine. And in life, those forces are not usually symmetrical.
There’s also some great research showing how training one side of the body can positively affect the other side as well. THIS POST references one article, with many more citations.
Check out the following variations of some common exercises. In addition to training a major movement pattern, they also effectively and functionally challenge the core by offloading that pattern – and would therefore likely make great additions to your program.