Your strong chest
Imbalances are a part of life, whether it’s in reference to your bank account or your muscles. But while we can’t do anything for your pocket (sorry!), we can help you bring symmetry back to your body.
With unilateral training, you work one side of the body at a time, giving each half a chance to work independently. This forces the weaker half to perform by preventing the stronger half from taking over the burden of the exercise.
Unilateral training is a method that can help even out muscular development while also correcting strength imbalances, which is important because, according to Jonathan Mike, PhD (Candidate), CSC, “Imbalances increase the risk of injury and can lead to improper motor patters, which could then lead to further injuries in different areas of the body.” This asymmetry can be apparent as you train your chest, the strongest ‘push’ muscle group in your upper body, and often one of the benchmarks of strength. Uneven development here could lead to shoulder, upper-back, elbow and even neck problems down the line.
Do this workout once every two weeks – on alternate weeks, tackle moves that require both arms at once – or choose a few of the moves to put into your regular routine.
One-arm incline dumbbell press
TARGET MUSCLES: pectoralis major (clavicular aspect)
SET-UP: Sit on an incline bench. Hold a dumbbell in one hand with your upper arm in line with your shoulder and palm facing the floor.
ACTION: Extend your arm straight in front of your body, not up toward the ceiling. Return to the start and repeat.
Keep your body aligned on the bench to recruit your core.
Standing one-arm resistance-band press
TARGET MUSCLES: pectoralis major (sternal aspect)
SET-UP: Attach a resistance band to a shoulder-height point behind you. Hold a handle in one hand, stagger your legs, and bend your working arm so that your upper arm is aligned with your shoulders and your palm faces down.
ACTION: Slowly extend your arm forward until it is straight but unlocked, then use control to return to the start before repeating.
Tip: Lean slightly forward into the move to create tension in the band. To make it harder, hold both ends of the band in one hand.
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