6 Key Moves for Unilateral Strength Training
Strengthening your weak side—yes, you have one—is essential for preventing weightlifting injuries. So add these single-limb moves to your workout.
COMBO #3. Bench Press to...One-Armed Dumbbell Presses
A. Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in your right hand, on top of your right thigh. Using your thigh to help by pushing the dumbbell into place, clean the dumbbell up so that you can hold it in front of you with your arm straight and in line with your shoulder. Use left hand to help position the dumbbell. Rotate your wrist forward so that the palm of your hand is facing towards your feet. This will be your starting position.
B. Slowly lower the weight by bending your elbow and lowering your arm until your wrist is stacked over your elbow and upper arm is parallel to the ground in a chest press position. Keep full control of the dumbbell at all times. (Tip: If needed, use your non-lifting hand for balance, as you may struggle at first.)
C. As you breathe out, push the dumbbell back up, focusing on your pectoral (chest) muscles. Lock your arm in the contracted position, squeeze your chest, hold for a second and slowly return the dumbbell to starting position. Do prescribed amount of reps, then switch arms and repeat.
COMBO #4. Seated Low-Cable Rows to...One-Arm Standing Cable Row
A. Attach a single handle to the pulley cable. Adjust the stack to the desired weight, then position yourself about 3 feet from the cable machine and grasp the handle with your right hand.
B. Take the weight off the stack and bend at the knees slightly. Put your left hand on your left thigh for stability.
C. Starting with an overhand position, begin pulling your arm in towards your side as far as possible, squeezing through the shoulder blades. Slowly lower the weight back down. Repeat for the desired number of reps and then switch arms.
COMBO #5. Dumbbell Shoulder Presses to...One-Armed Lateral Raises
A. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with arms down at your sides and palms facing in.
B. Keeping your body still, and maintaining a very slightly flexed elbow, slowly raise the dumbbell out to your right side, up to approximately shoulder height.
C. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell back to start. Do prescribed number or reps, then repeat with your left arm.
COMBO #6. Cable Trunk Rotations to...Staggered-Stance Single-Arm Rotation
A. In your right hand, hold a single handle attached to the pulley cable. Adjust the stack to the desired weight.
B. Face the cable pulley. Step, lunging sideways out to your right, pulling the handle out while rotating your trunk (similar to a tennis backhand). Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side. That's one rep.