If you’re looking to become stronger or even prevent injuries, you should be adding some unilateral exercises into your workout routines.
Not only does training one limb at a time help improve your overall performance but it also helps strengthen the core muscles: something many mamas need help with. You may not be looking to up your athletic skills but training unilaterally can help you immensely in your day to day activities.
Do to our lazier habits (computer surfing/movie watching) or lifestyle necessities (being a mom) we’re naturally a bit imbalanced. Many of us have weak or under activated glutes, cannot use our core to stabilize or have one side of the body stronger than the other.
Unilateral training helps correct these imbalances.
By targeting each limb individually, it forces stabilizing muscles to work overtime. Thus, your tiny helper muscles- that everyone hates to spend time working- are challenged and improved. Because you are training one limb at a time, you are building up muscle in one specific area, meaning, the less chance you have of becoming injured due to overcompensation.
The other area in which unilateral training specifically aids mamas is by strengthening the core muscles. The core muscles are responsible for protecting the back by resisting movement (anti-extension, anti-flexion and anti-rotation etc).
Unilateral training helps recruit the core muscles more than bilateral training as your body has to resist falling over. The ability to keep yourself upright, stable & balanced is your core function.
By now I hope I’ve convinced you to add in some unilateral work to your programs! Below are the top 7 unilateral exercises you should be doing as a mama.
- Single Leg Glute Bridge
- Hitting glutes are by far one of the best muscles for just about everyone. This single leg variation is perfect to get your bum firing. Make sure you lead with the glute though and not your low back
- Single Leg Squat To A Marker
- How often are we standing up/sitting down while trying to balance something? This exercise is amazing for hitting not just your legs but your entire body in one of the most primal movements: the squat. As you get better at this exercise, take the marker lower and lower
- Single Leg Hamstring Curl
- Hamstrings are both a knee flexor and a hip extender so pretty important. Strengthening them individually can help prevent injury.
- Single leg Romanian deadlift
- Learning to hip hinge is crucial to protect the low back. And to make it even better your can test and improve your skills by doing it unilaterally!
- Single Arm Shoulder Press
- This exercise helps keep your shoulders strong while also requiring a lot of stability to keep the body upright and in good posture
- 1 Arm Dumbbell Row
- The back and arms, two key areas all moms need to be strong and secure. Add these into your programs to help counter imbalances of always carrying those babes!
- Single arm farmers carries
- The farmers carry is possibly one of my all time favorite core exercises because it mimics the function of the core perfectly: maintain upright. By weighting only one side your body must fire constantly to keep form
So there you have it. Some awesome, butt kicking unilateral exercises to try. Some are more difficult than others so focus on going slow and working your way up in reps. You’ll be a badass in no time 🙂