T Nation

Training with One Arm Only

Kind of a stupid question, but…

I have seriously fucked up my left elbow, both pushing and pulling, and after trying to work around it for the past month, have succeeded only in injuring myself worse. It is pretty clear I need to give it a complete rest for at least 3-4 and maybe 6 wks. OK, so I can stick with the cardio, and I can squat and do legs (but not, like 5 days a wk), so what I was wondering was this…

If I do unilateral exercises on my good side only, like DB biceps, triceps pushdowns, one arm DB shoulder presses, etc., will one side of me get noticeably bigger than the other? I’m sure I will lose strength in my ‘gimp’ side if for no other reason than losing the neuro-muscular coordination, but I was hoping that by staying heavy on the legs and at going heavy with what I can on one side, I might minimize most of the losses.

I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will say don’t do it, but I reackon you can get away with this for a few months without worrying about a sever imbalance.
The question is how will you balance it when your bung arm comes good?

I would do it. hypertrophy is a systematic responce not just an isolated one, so doing wat you can on your good side, as well as legs, will help you retain muscle on your injured side.

Everyone will have their own take here, and I do think there are actually some studies proving that you can gain strength in an untrained limb if you stimulate the opposite one… still, having torn my right biceps two years ago, I essentially stayed away from any direct bicep work for both arms for fear of creating an imbalance.

Can you really create a huge differential in a few weeks? Highly doubtful, but should you choose to avoid direct work for both, erring on the overly cautious side, I guarentee your back will make gains in all the little ‘lumps and bumps’ most trainers lack due to their overinvolved biceps.