Training the Lower Body – Bilateral or Unilateral?
If you have been training for any length of time, or if you have been researching training before you head down to your gym in Galway, you might have heard some debate regarding different types of training for the lower body. Namely, we are talking about bilateral training vs. unilateral training, and which is best. First, let’s get a basic idea of what each of these types of training exercises entails.
Bilateral training is an exercise that will utilize both sides of the body at the same time. Some of the common examples of this with lower body exercises include squats and deadlifts. With unilateral exercises, you are only training one half of the body at a time. Some examples of lower body exercises that are unilateral would be step-ups and lunges. There are some people who will tell you that you should only use unilateral, and there is another camp that says you should only use bilateral exercises.
What’s the real deal? Which is better? The fact is that both types of exercises – unilateral and bilateral – can be quite effective when they are performed properly. Most people will want to perform a variety of exercises in order to help increase the strength of their legs. In fact, when you work with both, you can gain the benefits from both. You will not have to worry about bilateral deficiency, which occurs when your strong leg makes up for your weak leg during the exercise. Adding unilateral training will correct the strength differences, and you will be better off for it.
If you are ever confused about what types of exercises do and don’t work, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, you can head to one of the gym personnel to get more information on what type of exercises do and don’t work and what is safe to perform.