Unilateral, or one-sided exercises are fantastic for the body and not enough people utilize them. Whatever your goals are for exercise, single arm and leg movements will benefit you for multiple reasons. Let me break down the top three ways these exercises can help you.
They improve balance and stability
Unilateral exercises activate the core more than any other type of exercise. Having to keep your body balanced while only half of your body is “working” is very challenging. Doing exercises like step-ups, lunges and single arm rows will help your core get stronger, help you move better and in return help protect your body against injury.
You will burn more calories
I call these exercises a 2-for-1 deal. You get to do the exercise twice for every one set! This equates to 2x the calorie burn. Completing both sides back-to-back without any rest will challenge your aerobic capacity even more.
These exercises improve and correct symmetry
Life is uneven, which is why many people have one weaker side of the body. Maybe you carry a heavy purse, sit into one hip when you stand, drive or write a lot. Those things, and more, create imbalances in the body. These imbalances turn into injuries very quickly and without warning. That lingering knee pain and aching lower back are typically directly related to an imbalance in your body. Unilateral exercises help you both identify and fix the uneven nature of your muscles, giving your more power and strength.