Men Made For More Podcast Episode 62: Is Your Training Balanced? - Bilateral/UnilateralSep 23, 2020
Are you unsure of what to be doing in your training? Most people either blindly follow generalized programs they find online, or randomly choose what they're going to do that day with no long-term plan or structure. This leads to watered down results in your training and in the progress you’re making.
Having a balanced training program is essential to maximizing both performance and longevity when it comes to your fitness. In this 4 part series, I am going to be covering the 4 biggest programming imbalances seen across the hundreds of training programs that I’ve reviewed and helped people improve upon.
If you’re interested in having me look over your program, head on over to https://calendly.com/iostrengthperformance/programming-audit to sign up for a free training program audit, and I'll help let you know where your programming could use improvement to help you reach your training goals.
Men Made For More Podcast Episode 62: Is Your Training Balanced? Bilateral/Unilateral
[00:00:00] Dave: Welcome to the Men Made For More podcast, a show designed by men for men. Looking to get strong, feel confident and live a high performing life. As men. We face many challenges as we try and strive for better life. Want to live a meaningful and confident life, but don't know where to start. You've lost your physical and mental edge.
[00:00:18] That's keeping you from living out your full potential. You're tired of talking about doing big things and you're ready to start living it. But the men made for more podcast. Our goal is to teach you how to strengthen your body, your mind, and your purpose. On your way to reaching your full potential.
[00:00:34] It's time to start living as a man. You know, you can be to help lift up those that matter most in your life. In this podcast, we'll leave no stone unturned as to what it takes to get out of your comfort zone and step into living a strong, competent, and high-performing life. We'll focus on the topics that matter most for helping you develop into the man you were made to be, and our goal is to not only build strong men physically, but to help coach and develop strong friends, sons, brothers, fathers, isn't [00:01:00] owners, and professionals in every area of your life.
[00:01:03] I'm your host, Dr. Dave Paczkowski, proud husband, business owner, physical therapist and strength coach with a passion for helping other men strengthen their body, their mind, and their purpose, wherever you're at in your journey. Remember that you're made for more. I'm excited to have you with us today and let's dive into today's episode of the men made for more podcasts.
[00:01:24] Hey guys, welcome to part three of our four part series. This week we're answering the question is your training balanced. And I wanted to make a four part series on this because most people are unsure of what to be doing in their training. Most people, either blindly follow generalized programs, they find online, or they randomly choose what they're going to do that day with no longterm plan or structure.
[00:01:49] And this leads to water down results in training and the progress that you're making. If you have a balanced training program, this is essential to maximizing both your [00:02:00] performance and your longevity. When it comes to your fitness and this four part series, I'm going to be covering the four biggest programming imbalances seen across the hundreds of training programs that I've reviewed and help people improve upon.
[00:02:12] And if you missed it part one today, or part one earlier this week was on push first poll and having balanced in that part two is on having balance across the contractions in that meaning isometric, eccentric, and concentric. And today we're going to be talking about bilateral versus unilateral. Now, this is a hopefully more straight forward explanation.
[00:02:35] The explanation of it should be fairly simple. The application of it can be a little more complex when it comes to your actions. So programming, not that it has to be, but it definitely can be more involved, but the explanation of it, so bilateral, think anything done with both arms or both legs. So think barbell bench press barbell back squat.
[00:02:55] Would it be bilateral movements? Unilateral movements on the other hand [00:03:00] would be one sided, one arm, one limb type thing. So think a lunch, think a one-arm dumbbell bench press. So that would be a very simplified, but straightforward way to classify the bilateral versus unilateral. To give you guys the context as we get into more of the application here at the end of the show.
[00:03:21] And this is the reason this series is so important. And the reason it's so important to address these multiple areas of your training is because most people's programs are designed to be hard. They're designed to be challenging, but they're not designed to be intelligent. And those two don't have to be exclusive.
[00:03:38] Those two things go hand in hand. A well designed training program is both challenging and intelligent. And it's designed to do take into account the, uh, your specific needs. It's taken into account a longterm progression, a longterm plan to get you to where you're really trying to get to. And it has to factor in things like proper balance across body [00:04:00] parts, across planes of movement across the contractions, across the order of exercises.
[00:04:04] Number of days, you're working out how much rest time what's your tempo, what's the overload you're doing to continue to challenge yourself. How much are you de-loading and resting. And I'd just say that because with all that being said, there's a lot of factors that you need to consider. Programming is not as simple.
[00:04:22] It's not as simple as, okay. I feel like doing bench press today. So I'm gonna do bench press. I'm gonna throw in some inclines, we've been throwing some rows and throwing some arms and call it a day. There's a lot more that goes, goes into it. If you want to be successful in the longterm and it's, and if you want to jump from thing to thing, pole workouts online from online, but just know that you might be sacrificing your longterm results and you might be sacrificing your sustainability.
[00:04:47] So how long can you do that without getting hurt? I get it. It's not, it's not fun to do that. Always though. It's not easy to do that. It requires some effort to sit down and really pick apart your program to really [00:05:00] address it, to really evolve it in a way that is right for you and your individual needs.
[00:05:06] And you're probably not giving it much weight though, to do those things I'm talking about. There's a lot of variables and it does not have to be that complicated. It can be simple. But if we're talking longterm success, there is some complexity to it. And following a general program without a longterm plan is a recipe for mediocre results or in worst case scenarios, pain, injury, setbacks in time, away from your gym, time away from training.
[00:05:34] And as it relates to bilateral and unilateral exercise specifically, I want to highlight one of my coaching clients, Micah, who actually a client who originally came to see us for through our PT clinic. And now is one of a coaching clients I could help with, with his programming on an ongoing basis. And he came originally with a stress fracture, stress fracture to his femur.
[00:05:56] And there's a lot of reasons why this could happen. [00:06:00] Programming is not the only thing that I was into this. There's a lot of components that go into this, but looking at his program in hindsight. So first, first goal was to build them back up. So got him back to where he was pain free. He was properly healed.
[00:06:12] He was not at risk for. For reinjuring at that point. And then we had to continue to talk programming details. So what is your program going to look like? Cause when we saw, when we did a review of his old program, it was very heavy, bilateral focused. So a lot of things like. Squats things like box jumps, kettlebell, swings, deadlifts, those types of things, Olympic movements, a lot of bilateral focused work.
[00:06:40] And what was missing was a lot of unilateral focus stuff. So things like lunges, single leg, dead lifts, hip thrusts, bridges, those types of things that would help and maybe not prevent this. Hindsight, we can't, we can't say what would cause your world, but a more balanced program creates [00:07:00] not only better protection around the joints allows you to train in a different way to vary the load, to vary the movement enough to build proper strength and stability around joints.
[00:07:10] But also this helps with performance as well. So if you're trying to, if you're trying to improve your back squat, but you're only back sweating, you're going to greatly leave some potential on the table for how much you can improve. If you worked in things like just step ups, single leg, dead lifts. So both are great and both are needed in a plan.
[00:07:30] And for Micah, his strength has greatly improved from moving away from the bilateral movements and actually doubling down for, for a period of time. There's different blocks of programming. We do, but in the first few blocks, it was all about very heavy unilateral focused type of, uh, type of emphasis. And this led to his strength in his bilateral movements actually improving and he feels better and he is more confident in his leg doing what his legs are supposed to do.
[00:08:00] [00:08:00] And that's what's possible. You don't have to, you don't have to make this overly complicated and be like, well, I want to improve my back squat, improve my bench. So I want to focus more on that. You should be focusing on both of these at all times. So want to talk some practical application for what you need to keep in mind when it comes to programming out bilateral and unilateral exercises in your training.
[00:08:20] Both are great. Like I said, I don't want this to be a choosing one versus the other. I don't want to assimilate to our push full conversation. I don't think there's a magic ratio or anything for bilateral movements. You're going to be able to move more weight. It's going to be great for trying to add some muscle, add some weight.
[00:08:38] It's going to be great for trying to add absolute strength because you can typically load more on the bar around the dumbbells, even for using them. Now unilateral exercises tend to address more side to side weaknesses. I decide imbalances and are great for prehab. Preventative stuff are great for identifying, Hey, my, when I do [00:09:00] lunges with my left leg forward, I can do X amount of weight, but with my right leg forward, I'm.
[00:09:06] 20 pounds lighter. Like that's, that's an issue. That's a problem. We want to try and restore those imbalances and unilateral moves. Vince helped you identify that or something like a back squat can really hide that if you're doing only barbell back squat thing, that won't be revealed. Like I mentioned earlier, too, if your goal is performance, Clean up that side to side difference, getting your right leg, even with your left leg, in that example will also help your bilateral movements.
[00:09:30] So these go so hand in hand, they're both important and they both heavily have their place in any good program. Now in general, most people are lacking more on the unilateral side of things. So I want to spend most of the time here today at the end to give you guys some examples of what you try, if your goal is taking the compound movement and what to try for some more accessory, unilateral type movements to supplement that.
[00:09:56] So instead of squatting more, try more things like [00:10:00] lunges, like ups and. If anyone that anyone that's worked with us know that we have probably hundreds of variations of each of those within lunges and step-ups cause there's so many different ways you can even vary it within that. So if you're basically just starting out think lunges and step-ups, if you're more advanced change, the type of, uh, type of movement, if barbell versus dumbbell versus kettlebell change the position of it at your side versus front rack overhead, those are all things you can do to add, to move more complexity to that.
[00:10:30] Now, instead of dead lifts, try more things like single leg, dead lifts, hip thrusts, bridges. These things are going to help you identify more of those side to side imbalances. And again, you can vary the weight, which hand the weight is in position. You can use bands for these. There's lots of different things you can do to progress that if you're looking for more advanced variations, Instead of bench, try more things like one arm, push pushup, and playing progressions.
[00:10:54] One side of the bench exercises. It's a totally different exercise to do a dumbbell bench [00:11:00] with one way in one arm only. And you'll find out how much your core is working, how much, uh, other imbalances there are that might show themselves when you do something like that. And instead of shoulder pressing try more things like Turkish, get ups when I'm pressed presses, overhead carries.
[00:11:16] Those would be some great ways you try and create some more unilateral balance in your training. Now knowing when and where to place bilateral for unilateral will come down to your training goals, your experience, your injury history, your mobility, your strength amongst so many other factors. So do your research or seek out a coach.
[00:11:35] It's not enough to just randomly place new exercise into your program and expect results to just sore after that, this has to be done intelligently and strategically to get the most out of it. If you guys haven't picked up already from the series, the importance of having a solid and well developed program specific to you and your needs can not be taken lightly.
[00:11:59] And I've talked [00:12:00] about in the past ones this week in our PT clinic, that we, we see people with injuries for a lot of it can be traced back to programming in the clients I see through men made from our coaching that I get to work with. They come with stale in general programs, which lead to stale or general results.
[00:12:16] How changing the programming can help your joints feel better. It can help you perform better, can help you be more sustainable. Your training can do that for longer periods of time, where after decades of improvement, not just weeks or months of improvement and can help you look and feel like you never have before.
[00:12:34] Once you can get some of these things in line and imagine having a well rounded, balanced, and effective program specific to you and your individual needs. Imagine making the progress you're after, inside and outside the gym for decades to come and all that's possible with a challenging but intelligent program.
[00:12:52] I've mentioned the past ones. Those can go hand in hand intelligent doesn't mean boring doesn't mean simple, but it does mean [00:13:00] effective and it should be challenging as well. If you're interested in having me look over your program, I got an offer for you guys, head on over to the link in the show notes, to sign up for a free training program audit and I'll help you know, where your programming's lacking, where you could use improvement to help you reach your training goals.
[00:13:16] Thanks for listening to this one. If you guys haven't checked out parts one and two yet, make sure to go do that and stay tuned later this week for part four, the last of our series coming your way. Thanks for listening today, guys. And I'll talk to you soon.
[00:13:27]Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of the manmade for more podcasts, hope you found today's show valuable and you have some actionable strategies you can apply to your life today. This is your first time listening. Thanks for being here. The aim of this podcast is to provide a ton of the best possible content to help you grow in your journey, to becoming the best version of yourself.
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[00:14:25] Keep challenging yourself growing and know that it's okay to get out of your comfort zone and know that you're made for more. Thanks for listening and see you guys soon.
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