A Good Workout for Your Weak Side

side lunge runner

Life is all about balance. Balance in your work life, balance in your family life, and balance in your health. Balancing your physical strength is equally important, and not always on our radar.

Think about it: Life happens asymmetrically, and yet we all naturally favor one side or the other (unless you’re the rare switch-hitter!). That’s natural. And the good news is it’s pretty easy to work on your weaker side—unlike possibly other balance issues in your life. It involves mixing in unilateral exercises (those using one side of the body at a time) with bilateral exercises (those using both sides of the body simultaneously). And luck you, that’s actually the secret to the ever-valuable functional full-body workout!

Here are a few tips for being more mindful about your physical balance, plus a workout to get you going.

Before You Get Started

  1. Assess yourself. Use our high five assessment to see how you fare with some unilateral movements (lunge, single leg reach). This will give you a good idea which side needs extra work, if you don’t already know!
  2. Use unilateral movements, but don’t make ALL of them unilateral. This is important because when we’re trying to work on a specific area, we don’t want to build our workouts based only on that weaker area. If that’s all we do, then we’d possibly see a decline in our strengths (or even worse, our functions)! For example, if I need more protein and vitamins in my diet, I’m not going to only eat protein and vitamins. I’m going to add it into a well-balanced diet. In the same way, when considering these movements, sprinkle them into your workouts instead of making your workout just unilateral movements.
  3. Don’t get frustrated! It’s common to feel a little frustrated when one side can’t seem to do what the other side can. Stick with it. You may even find the difference is less about physical weakness and more about how coordinated that side is with the given movement. You may just need a bit more practice with the firing of the muscles. So lower the weight, focus on execution, and you’ll see gains in no time.

Your “Weak Side” Workout

Do 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds rest for each circuit. You’ll do 4 sets of the first two exercises and then 3 sets of the next two pairs of exercises. For unilateral movements, do 5 reps of one side, then 5 reps of the other during the allotted time.

4 sets: 45 min work, 15 sec rest

TRX Uni Row

TRX Uni Row

  • Complete 5 reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Squat Jumps

Squat Jump

  • If this is too hard, revert to regular bodyweight squats.

3 Sets: 45 min work, 15 sec rest

Push-up to T

Push-up to T

  • Alternate sides with each rep. Skip the weights if too challenging, and work your way up to that!
  • Another option, for upper body bilateral focus: TRX push-ups.

Uni Glute Bridge

Unilateral Bridge

  • Complete 5 reps on one side before switching to the other side.

3 sets: 45 min work, 15 sec rest

Dive Bomb Push-ups

Dive Bomb Push-ups

Note: These are hard on your shoulders. If you have any issues, replace with a walk out or wide push-up.

  • Another option, for upper body unilateral focus: single arm thrusters.

Side Lunges

Side Lunge

  • Complete 5 reps on one side before switching to the other side. Master the movement before adding weight. Once you do, you can also use Kettlebells or plates.

2 minutes

Burpees

That’s right. Unilateral movements aside (unless you want to try this on one leg at a time; and you could—safely!), it’s time for a great finisher! Set your timer for 2 minutes and see how many burpees you can do. Count them, and the next time you do this workout, try to beat it! Aim for 20+.

Burpees

Download This Workout (PDF)

 

Print Friendly

Comments

Luke Andrus is a certified personal trainer, ACE health coach, writer, folk music drummer, husband, and a father. Most of his writing experience is in poetry and fictional short stories, and he also proposed to his wife with a self-published children's book. He is a Narnia nerd with a degree in History, a minor in English, and a semi-obsession with the French language. He believes that fitness is not just about vanity, but about lifestyle, integrity, and the ability to take control of your life.