Unilateral movements follow a more natural movement pattern for the body than bilateral movements — when was the last time you saw an athlete hop, rather than run? Knowing this, many professional coaches incorporate unilateral strength exercises into athlete training. Focusing on each leg and each arm, can build greater strength, and expose weaknesses. Most people have a strong and a weak side. And when they train both sides together (bilaterally) the stronger side often compensates for the weak side. Incorporating unilateral exercises can help resolve this problem.
Unilateral movements are also often compound movements. Meaning that not only is the targeted muscle working, but also the surrounding muscles. Therefore, these movements burn more calories and build more overall strength.
If you want to train “athletically” and not just for aesthetics, incorporate unilateral movements into your routine.
One arm dumbbell chest press
Single arm shoulder press
Alternate side lats or power side lateral raises
One arm t-bar row
One arm push up
One arm pull up
Single leg squat (non-working leg elevated on bench to the rear)
Single leg hip thrusts
Single leg deadlift (non-working leg elevated to rear on down movement)
Single leg calf raise
This list can go on, and on . . .
Single leg squats:
This exercise will shape your legs and glutes, as well as strengthen them.