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-   -   Unilateral Training and Bilateral Strength Deficit (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3831)

Donald Lee 02-09-2009 12:22 AM

Unilateral Training and Bilateral Strength Deficit
 
I know unilateral training from from articles on T-Nation have been discussed on this board. I thought this might be of interest:

Quote:

Donald,

Yes, but one must also be careful how he implements unilateral
training and for what cases.

Naturally, a untrained organism presents a bilateral strength
deficit . which averages somewhere at 5-10%, but in some cases it
appears it can be very significant (up to 25%).

This can be changed with prolonged bi-lateral training. The organsim
become bilaterally facilitated, phenomena which can be seen in
weightlifters for examples.

Also, affirmations like "compete on one leg, train on one leg" used
by functionalists are pretty much false. It appears that patterns for
muscular activation are much more similar to the ones in running, for
example, during squat, and not single leg squat (IIRC, this comes from
Charlie Francis, he was quoting a study of Donald Chu)

Implications are multifaceted:

1. In a normal person, unilateral training can yield increase muscle
activation (due to the ability to bear more (normalized) load than in
the bilateral movement), hence yield stronger training effects.

2. On the same time on must recognize that neurally, it is extremely
important to train accordingly to the type of activation present in
the sport. Due to the phenomena of bilateral deficit, it is unwise to
accentuate unilateral movements in sports where we have a bilateral
activation. It is very important to gap the deficit, and even become
bilaterally facilitated. This cant be done with unilateral training.

Same holds true in cases where unilateral activation is greatly
involved in sport. Excessively using exercises which involves
bilateral activation may lead to bilateral facilitation in time,
meaning you will express more strength in bilateral movement than in
the unilateral movement (again normalized). You dont want that.

3. Recognize that some exercises may have improper neural recruitment
strategies , with respect to your competitive exercise. This, may
cause problems and possibly raise the probability of injury during
sport practice.

Just something to keep in mind

Dan Partelly
Oradea, romania

Steven Low 02-09-2009 05:27 AM

So basically... train with sports specific skills/movements. Gee, who woulda thunk it. ;)

It is pretty important to recognize that unilateral and bilateral movement is important especially in the amount of drills specific to how much movement in each of those planes is required though.

Garrett Smith 02-09-2009 09:00 AM

I think a little bit of unilateral training goes a long way.

It shouldn't be thrown out, and it shouldn't be all that one does.

The improved balance from some unilateral work would be pretty hard to get from all bilateral work, IMO. This work doesn't have to be weighted necessarily.

Donald Lee 02-09-2009 01:49 PM

I thought this point was intriguining:

Quote:

1. In a normal person, unilateral training can yield increase muscle
activation (due to the ability to bear more (normalized) load than in
the bilateral movement), hence yield stronger training effects.
The only time I did much unilateral training for strength development was a couple years back when I was following Ross Enamait's program laid out in Infinite Intensity. I'm not sure if my results were greater than or comparable to that which I could have had from a barbell.

Garrett Smith 02-09-2009 02:08 PM

One way I'd think of it in terms of usefulness is the transferability.

If someone (trained) can do a one-armed BB snatch, can they (untrained) do a regular BB snatch? What about vice versa? The pull-up or push-up used as an example here would be painfully obvious. Pistols vs. air squats are another one--anyone who can do a pistol can probably do quality air squats, while being good at air squats does not imply anything about being competent at pistols.

My guess is, due to things like balance requirements (assuming equal strength levels), that unilateral would transfer to bilateral better than the other way around.

Donald Lee 02-09-2009 02:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Garrett Smith (Post 50036)
One way I'd think of it in terms of usefulness is the transferability.

If someone (trained) can do a one-armed BB snatch, can they (untrained) do a regular BB snatch? What about vice versa? The pull-up or push-up used as an example here would be painfully obvious. Pistols vs. air squats are another one--anyone who can do a pistol can probably do quality air squats, while being good at air squats does not imply anything about being competent at pistols.

My guess is, due to things like balance requirements (assuming equal strength levels), that unilateral would transfer to bilateral better than the other way around.

I agree with that assessment. For a couple months, I've been working on one arm chinups, and last week I did some weighted chinups again. The unilateral training did transfer quite well to the bilateral training.

Steven Low 02-09-2009 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donald Lee (Post 50037)
I agree with that assessment. For a couple months, I've been working on one arm chinups, and last week I did some weighted chinups again. The unilateral training did transfer quite well to the bilateral training.

Defintely agree with that assessment.


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