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How do you decide between bilateral vs. unilateral exercises?

You need to earn your right to exercise bilaterally! What is bilateral exercise? Think squat, push up, burpee, plank. Simply put, both sides of the body engaged in the same movement.

Why do you have to earn it? Because many people are not healthy enough to produce quality bilateral exercise. This is especially true with people who are experiencing pain.

Many times, I’ve seen people experience pain with bilateral movement and no pain with unilateral movement. The neurology is deep and I’ll save it for another day.

How did bilateral exercise take over the fitness industry? I think in an effort to simplify movement for a culture who doesn’t move well or often, things gravitated to a less novel style of exercise. Yes, that’s the ironic thing. Did you ever realize that the fitness industry has some of the lousiest movers on the planet? To find people who move well you need to look outside the fitness industry. Kinda strange, isn’t it? It’s the price we pay for reverse engineering something too much and trying to artificially insert activity back into our busy lives.

Back to bilateral exercise. Meet unilateral exercise! One sided movements. This is a much more natural way to exercise and consistently assesses better and delivers greater results for people. We are asymmetrical creatures after all, right? We don’t move through life using bilateral movement, so why would we exercise bilaterally? (if you are the rare bilateral athlete you’re excluded) Still not sure? Try and think of something in your life that you do that is bilateral. Oh no, you came up with sitting, didn’t you!?

How do you start today? Try replacing some of your favorite bilateral exercises with the unilateral alternative! For example, split squat will replace bilateral squat. Single arm push will replace bilateral push. You get the idea! Then after 5 or so weeks go back to the bilateral versions and see how you have improved! Oh, and you have my permission to just stop doing planks for the rest of your life.  

Cheers!

 

About the Author:

Taylor Kruse, recently featured in Men's Health, is dedicated to empowering you with the truth and tools for improved health and performance.

His inspiration stems from more than 10 years of education and coaching through systems like Zhealth Performance, The Burdenko Method, and various movement practices.

GETTING STARTED WITH BRAIN-BASED TRAINING:

Practice FIVE Neuro-Performance Drills

Learn why respiration, vision, vestibular, and complex movement integrations are essential tools for every coach!

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GETTING STARTED WITH BRAIN-BASED TRAINING:

Practice FIVE Neuro-Performance Drills

Learn why respiration, vision, vestibular, and complex movement integrations are essential tools for every coach!