02-09-2009, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
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:
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
Just something to keep in mind