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Unilateral Leg / Chest Workout Questions


Three questions, one about leg day, two about chest day:

1) On barbell bench press, I find it hard to keep my shoulder blades and upper back tight. I have read that the decline bench press is a better alternative, so is this a good chest workout to do once a week:
Decline bb bench
DB incline press

2) ...If you notice I only have two presses and no flys... This is because when I do flys (cable flys, db flys) at the end of the set, my rotator cuff area (rear delt/shoulder) is on fire as if they just did all the work or something... I dont know why I get this fatigue in my shoulders, so do you think I can do without flys?

3) LEGS! The combination of the fact that my lower vertebrate is shaped weird and I am skinny 6 foot 4 cause me to not be able to squat, leg press, or any other two legged leg movement. "Fix the problem"is obviously what most people would say so I guess tips on that would be appreciated, but obviously for now I need a good leg workout that involves single legged pressing movements (I can do stuff like leg curls and stiff leg deadlifts fine)
this is what I have been doing:

DB split squats
DB step ups
Hamstring curls
Leg extensions

Look good or should I add more? I work that workout hard and I am sweating and wiped after it, so don't think I am taking it easy!


1) if you find a move is hard to do, why dont you just try and learn to do it better instead of giving it up altogether? seems like the easy way out, doesn't it?

2) when you do flyes, you are going to have to retract your shoulder blades really tight (just like when you set up for bench). make sure your chest is high and concentrate on using your chest to pull the weight instead of using your shoulders. start light.

3) what the hell man? you cant do bench because your technique sucks. you cant do legs cuz your technique sucks. maybe you just arent cut out for this shit.


1) I see where you would think that it is the "easy way out," but I had recently read in an article that decline bench press is a better alternative. Its not like I am giving up pressing altogether and not doing chest.

2) Ok thanks, I did not know you are supposed to squeeze your shoulder blades together during flyes. I will give this a try with some cable flyes on chest day.

3) My technique for legs has actually been very good; arched back, chest up, knees staying behind toe line, etc... My technique has nothing to do with it. Not everyone in the world is able to squat and leg press... Again, I am not looking for the "easy way out"... In fact, I wish I could do two leg presses; if anything, my single leg movements are harder because I have two freakin sets of hell instead of just one with both legs.. So thank you for clearing that up before someone else comes on here and does not offer advice because they think I am just lazy


Have you considered doing front squats? That usually works for tall people.


If your technique is good (on squats), what is making you say you can't do it?

Does it cause you injury (in which case I recommend getting a video and seeing if you really have good technique)?

Or are your numbers just low? Which doesn't mean you can't do it, you just need to progress...


I understand where you are coming from with the spinal problems, I have scoliosis and it's a real bitch for me too. I'd really suggest finding a good chiro, getting some X-Rays taken and let him work on correcting it. It's worth it. Your muscles will also be all screwed up around the spine because of this so I'd get some ART or deep tissue work done along with it. Trust me, it helps tremendously.

Guys, for me I could do squats but my spine and hip issues made it impossible to center my weight evenly on both legs. All bilateral leg movements did was make my right leg bigger because my left would not bear equal weight. I assume his issue is something similar.


Nothing wrong with unilateral leg movements. Much of my warm up is just that. if this is all you can do, then have at it. Yes, your overall progress will likely be stunted if you do no bilateral work at all.


Ok thanks for the input guys, good to see some of the biggest guys on here help me.
Way, good idea, I will definately see a chiropractor, I just have been hesitant because I always hear stories of chiros thinking they know what theyre doing and messing up someones back, but I will find a good one.
Eventually I may be able to do some bilateral, but I guess for now my leg workout will stay the same as above. Do you guys think that is a good selection of exercises and hits the quads and hams well?
(db split squats, db step ups, hamstring curls supersetted with leg extensions)

And as for the chest, besides keeping my shoulder blades squeezed on flys, the only other question I have is can decline bb bench be a good exercise in place of flat pressing? so my workout would be:
decline bb bench
incline db press
cable flys (I am going to give them a shot with squeezed blades)


what about sled dragging for legs? I'm another person who has always tried to squat, but I just cant get it to fucking work for me. My right leg/hip always does the most work, but sled dragging is something I've always really felt blow up my quads, especially the teardrop.

I also really like single leg press and and db split squats. With the db split squats, I like to go down slow hold it at the bottom for a second then go back up, but don't lock out. Every time I just try to focus on the weight, my back leg always ends up doing too much work.


If you can't keep your shoulders pinned together and on the bench, your back is weak. It does not only consist of the lats. Learn how to row properly.

You keep your shoulder blades pinned together on any lying pressing exercise. Switching from flat to decline doesn't change that.


CC, I do bb rows slightly bent over, rowing to about the beltline and I squeeze my shoulder blades as the weight is rowed up. (so I am rowing correctly)
I guess it will eventually get stronger. For now I will just work on form on bb bench.
benching 135 instead of 155 (not that its any different) is going to be embarrassing but must be done.


I couldn't do squats , leg presses or deadlifts because of herniated L3-4 and L4-5 discs. I worked with a PT and chiropractor for a year and still couldn't do these exercises pain free. What I did learn during this year is that single legged exercises produced virtually no pain in my lower back. Front squats and DB lunges also hit my legs good without causing my lower back any pain. I put about 2 inches on my thighs and an inch on my calves in Summer 2009 by just doing

HS linear hack press (quad + hammies) (lifefitness.com/commercial/hammerstrength/plateloaded/lowerbodytorso/hackpress.html)
unilateral leg presses (quads)
DB lunges (quad + hammies)
leg curls (hammies)
front squats (about 4-6 weeks) (quads)
Seated calves raise
Calve raise on leg press machine

You can throw in single legged deadlifts for hamstrings as well. I personally think it's foolish to do an exercise just for the sake of doing it if it's causing pain.

If you're in a commercial gym, check if it has the hammer strength linear hack press. It's a squat, but the load isn't on your back or shoulders like other squat machines. It's not a common machine but if your gym has one, try it out.


Ok I just decided my chest workout will be db flat bench, db incline, and flyes

.... I tried the flyes today, and how is it even possible to keep your shoulder blades tight when your doing FLYES?
I did (standing) cable flyes, starting out grabbing the cable handles out at shoulder height (as if measuring wingspan) and bringing them together until my palms touch..... Towards the end of the movement as the handles get closer my shoulder blades come apart...
This has nothing to do with weight... I mean I want everyone who reads this to pinch your shoulder blades together and do a flying motion and see if your shouldder blades stay perfectly pinched the whole movement. Am I the only one?
Another issue that happens during these is I feel my right (only my right side) bicep take over and flexing. How the heck do I do flyes?? Or what movement should I do in place of them?


"pinch your shoulder blades together and do a flying motion and see if your shouldder blades stay perfectly pinched the whole movement"

pretty close to it. the shoulders are going to move of course, but the scapula stay in the same pinched position. I am guessing you have a poor mind muscle connection with the muscles that retract the scap, and they are probably weak as well (because you mentioned this being a problem on bench press as well?). From my understanding of it... your normal bb rows or whatever don't work these muscles, they are actually very small and you are not moving 100s of lbs with your tiny scap retractors. Think more of rehab type exercises with 0 or tiny weights... at least until you learn how to activate them, and then they might get some work in other main exercises.

Nonetheless.. if cable flies are giving you trouble (as in injury or bad pain feeling), I would just drop it and try a different accessory movement. I don't think anyone is going to say their chest was made or broken by cable flies.


Try a couple of different squat variations. If you are a tall lifter your knees will inevitably drift infront of your knees unless you have some very unique levers. I am suspect that rather than being unable to do it because of your height it's more than likely an issue of not having the correct technique, try improving for 3 months and if you find that it's still not doing you good drop them.

Even better post a video of your squat for better analysis


Wazzup way:

I have similar issues. What movements have you found to be best for leg hypertrophy in your case?

Thanks in advance.