T Nation

Question On Unilateral Training

What is the logic behind attempting to prioritize one limb over the other?

Say your left arm is weaker than your right. So you decide to do 4 sets for the left arm and only 3 sets for the right arm. My question is: if 4 sets is better than 3… why not do that for both arms?

What’s better:

Left arm: press 70lbs
Right arm: press 80lbs

OR

Left arm press 70lbs
Right arm press 70lbs

?

If one side is weaker than the other, it needs more work to achieve the same level of strength. We should always be striving for balances in strength and flexibility from side-to-side.

Stay strong
MR

I think his question is, if its easy to correct the imbalance by doing more work for it, then aren’t we limiting the strength of the other limb by not working it hard enough in order to achieve our potential? Its kinda like slowing down the progress of one limb to allow the other to catch up?

Conor, my point exactly!

Mike, is there a reason why “balance” is so important? I remember Mel Siff mentioning that it’s pretty normal for one limb to be stronger than the other.

To some extent, yes you are limiting the growth potential of the stronger limb.

However, in the long run, this will reduce your likelihood of injury and allow for greater overall growth potential on the big exercises.

Stay strong
MR

[quote]ConorM wrote:
I think his question is, if its easy to correct the imbalance by doing more work for it, then aren’t we limiting the strength of the other limb by not working it hard enough in order to achieve our potential? Its kinda like slowing down the progress of one limb to allow the other to catch up?[/quote]

yeah, but once balanced, go ahead and do the work to get stronger with more sets. But if you`re not symetrical in terms of size and strength (and i think flexibility too), then it can lead to postural problems.

Think about it, why would you want to stay unbalanced?

It’s true, none of us are “perfect;” we all have some sort of imbalances, I’m sure.

However, that doesn’t mean we should not strive to become more balanced. Think about squatting: Your right leg is stronger, so you constantly shift the weight to this side. Your right knee, hip, and low back will all take more of a beating in the long run. If it doesn’t lead to an acute injury, it could most definitely lead to a chronic one.

Like always, just because something CAN lead to injury doesn’t mean it will, but I’m always trying to minimize injury risk while striving to optimize performance.

Stay strong
MR

[quote]Zulu wrote:
Conor, my point exactly!

Mike, is there a reason why “balance” is so important? I remember Mel Siff mentioning that it’s pretty normal for one limb to be stronger than the other. [/quote]

Good point, having one limb stronger might lead to it “taking over” during a lift, thereby exacerbating the situation.

Thanks for the reply! :slight_smile: