If you’re looking to be well-rounded with your strength training, especially in regards to lower body, it’s important to include a few different types of exercises in your workout routine.
You may already know that prioritizing compound movements is the way to go, but that doesn’t mean there’s only a few exercises to choose from. Utilizing bilateral, unilateral and b-stance exercises is a great way to incorporate variety, improve imbalances and have a well-rounded strength base.
Aka exercises that use both legs equally.
Bilateral exercises are awesome. You can normally add the most weigh to these exercises, which means you recruit a lot of muscle mass to get the work done. These are the exercises like squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts.
Because you can add the more weight to bilateral exercises, these are often the “main lift” in your workout and you’ll want to do them first so that you are most fresh for them and then move on to other exercises.
Focus on bracing your core and torso to create lots of tension and pressing your feet firmly into the floor.
Aka exercises that primarily work one leg at a time.
Unilateral exercises are also awesome. These exercises can require a lot of balance, if you do them without holding on to anything, or if you hold on to something you can really engage the working leg. These often require a little extra stabilization from the core, more coordination and allow each leg to work independently.
Unilateral exercises can be really challenging and from a safety standpoint, you want to make sure you don’t weight them too heavily too quickly. Make sure you feel stable in your footing if you are doing a unilateral exercise without balance assistance.
Try to think about keeping your whole foot on the ground and pressing through your mid-foot and heel.
Aka exercises that primarily work one leg at a time, but with a little more assistance from the non-working leg than unilateral exercises.
B-stances exercises are a little newer on the popular exercise scene. However, they can be a great way to provide a progression for someone who finds the unilateral exercise too challenging at first or to add a little extra load that would be possible with a unilateral exercise.
I find b-stance exercises a challenging coordination wise at first, but after a little practice I really enjoy them.
Key tips for b-stance movements are to make sure that you don’t stagger your stance too much and to focus on really engaging the “working” leg. In case it needs to be said, you should do both legs – just like with unilateral exercises.
If your workout program has left out unilateral or b-stance exercises, try including them and see if you don’t enjoy the variety!
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