What’s the one thing missing from most fitness programs that translates into extraordinary progress?
- Ice Cream
- More Posterior Chain Work
- Single-Sided Bodyweight Exercises
- A Good Workout Partner
Behold, The Domino Effect: One Side Fits All
Also known as unilateral movements, focusing on one side at a time with the upper or lower extremities has been shown to play a key role in promoting equilibrium, transforming mental and physical ideals into reality, overcoming current health setbacks, and preventing future issues from happening. These positive changes are especially noticeable when you consider the value of starting your workout on a high note with such moves—which is arguably the most important habit you can develop to increase workout productivity.
If there is such a promising range of benefits from their application, why don’t we see more single-sided exercises being performed by others on a regular basis?
Well, there are three understandable reasons why some fitness gurus still don’t prescribe one-sided exercises in their training programs. The total number of repetitions take more overall time to perform (which can lead to impatience), they don’t allow the practitioner to add a sexy amount of external load (which can influence ego), and they’re significantly more challenging on both the mind and body to perform (which can make poor form inevitable). This puts many well-informed coaches in a tough position when it comes to attracting new business and ultimately selling their training philosophy.
The good news is, no matter where you’re at right now in your fitness journey, you can have the best of both worlds—catering to both your wants AND your needs—by including unilateral calisthenics movements in the first half of every workout. The following list vivifies the healthy domino effect of this “one side fits all” training strategy—meaning that, once one of these motives is set in place, you will set off a chain reaction for the rest. Hopefully after going through this list, you too will find new motivation or be able to put previous advice into healthier perspective by balancing movement from both sides of the body more effectively.
- Train and Recover Smarter
- Improve Core Strength
- Cultivate Mobility, Joint Health & Overall Movement Quality
- Activate Your Nervous System
Just imagine for a moment what it would be like as a gymnast—being able to turn on an extremely high percentage of the muscles in your body. At that level of body tension, your muscles really have no choice but to display superhuman strength and build lean body mass. Back to reality, you can create similar opportunities for physiological gains by working one arm or one leg at a time because the nervous system has no choice but to send electrical pulses from head to toe to close any energy leaks. In this context, energy leaks are the same as leverage—which dictates how much effort you’ll be able to apply before form starts to break down. For beginners and taller/long-limbed individuals, unilateral calisthenics training will offer an even more distinguished neural activation effect—due to their experience level and anatomy, respectively.
- Increase Energy Expenditure
- Look Cool, Have More Fun!
Summary of Unilateral Training Recommendations – To Infinity And Beyond!
Now that you have the motives behind the Who, What, Where, When and Why of unilateral calisthenics training, let’s recap with the three most practical ways for How you can get started today.
- Perform unilateral calisthenics along with your 10-15 minute full-body warm-up.
- Perform one 45-minute workout per week exclusively dedicated to unilateral calisthenics movements.
- Perform unilateral calisthenics movements for preventative maintenance–once or twice a month for tune-up purposes or year-round for complimenting your other bilateral workout programs and rebuilding your body all together.
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