A lot of people tend to weight train symmetrically. And this is definitely not wrong. Trust me, I love me some deadlifts. I also have no problems with (WELL EXECUTED) squats and bench presses. In fact, I kind of love barbells in general (that’s why we have a barbell club*). But if we’re seeking optimal results, we want to make sure we’re including exercises where we are loading one side of the body at a time.
*we don’t really have a barbell club.
But we do have a flag.
Flags are super cool.
Doing things with one arm or one leg at a time is a great way to spice it up and challenge your body in a different way. Particularly your core musculature. Although many folks still train their abs using antiquated methods (seriously, STOP DOING SIT-UPS, they’re hurting you), it’s important to appreciate that the primary function of the core musculature is to RESIST movement, not create it.
Want an awesome ab exercise? Do a one-arm dumbbell bench press and try to prevent your body from doing funny things on the bench. I promise you will feel your abs working in a different (as well as safer and arguably more beneficial) way.
Or how about the humble but mighty split squat? Because your legs are asymmetrical, you’ll have to be diligent to keep your torso upright and avoid twisting. Once you’ve got that hammered down, trying holding one dumbbell. Ooooooh… now we’re REALLY having fun.
Perhaps one of my favorite core and conditioning exercise is something called a suitcase carry. It works like this: grab a heavy ass dumbbell or kettlebell. Now go for a walk, but stay upright and maintain excellent posture. Fun, right?! In addition to training your core, these bad boys will do great things for your grip strength, and performed for long sets, they can be an effective part of a conditioning or fat loss regime. So simple. So effective. So hateful. You’re welcome.
By challenging your core to maintain a neutral alignment while loading the body asymmetrically, you also do really good things to keep your back healthy. Everybody loves a properly functioning quadratus lumborum!! (You TOTALLY have a quadratus lumborum. In fact you have two.)
So if you’re bored as shit with doing everything symmetrically, try doing things with one arm or one leg at a time, as well as loading the body asymmetrically. Not only will this spice up your life, but it’ll help keep your core strong and your back healthy. BOOM.