Unilateral and Bilateral - same day or split?

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pdellorto
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Unilateral and Bilateral - same day or split?

Post by pdellorto » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:45 am

When including both unilateral and bilateral exercises in a workout, is it best to include them on the same day, or split them over different days?

For example:

A
Legs (bilateral)
Push (bilateral)
Pull (bilateral)


B
Legs (unilateral)
Push (unilateral)
Pull (unilateral)

Or mix them in together?
Legs (bilateral)
Legs (unilateral)
Push (bilateral)
Push (unilateral)
Pull (bilateral)
Pull (unilateral)

For example, Deadlifts + split squats, or Front squats + single leg RDLs, Chins + one-arm rows, Shoulder Press + Side Press, etc. The second routine would take much longer.

I'm thinking fairly vaguely here. I'm working on my new training routine (for MMA, as usual), but before I lay it out I want to get this fairly basic question about bilateral/unilateral exercises out there for comment.

Peter

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Post by stuward » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:02 am

It depends on what you want from the workout. If you are doing just strength, you are probably better separating them so you can give full intensity. If you are looking for hypertrophy or endurance, doing them as supersets would work. Heavy squats, followed by walking lunges then crawl home. Scary.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:09 am

You could try something like this:

Workout A
Quad Dominant (bilateral)
Hip Dominant (unilateral)
Push (bilateral)
Pull (unilateral)

Workout B
Hip Dominant (bilateral)
Quad Dominant (unilateral)
Pull (bilateral)
Push (unilateral)

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:12 am

However, with upper-body lifts I think unilateral work is less important, since with dumbbells you can do bilateral exercises and still target each side indepentantly. For example, Dumbbell Bench Press is a bilateral movement, however because you're using two dumbbells instead of one barbell, each side gets worked independanly. The strong arm can't compensate for the weaker one.

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Post by stuward » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:27 am

Unilateral upperbody hits your core different that bilateral, especially presses. Your body has to stabalize the load and that requires you obliques, serratus, etc to hold your torso rigid. Wait until you get your kettlebell.

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:17 pm

Thanks guys. That helps.

I'd actually thought about it more after I posted and came up with a rough split like you suggested, Matt. Perhaps something like this (exercises are examples, but I'll probably use most of these in whatever workout I do):

Monday:
Deadlift
Split Squat
DB One-Arm Shoulder Press
Weighted Chinup

Thursday:
Front Squat
One-Leg RDL
Bench Press
One-Arm Row

Not exactly the layout you suggested, but close...although I may swap things around so I'm not doing weighted chinups the same day as deadlifts, if only because of how much my grip will get taxed in the process. But something like that seems like a potentially good start.

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Post by caangelxox » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:13 pm

It looks like you are training each movement once a week. For me, mine is split into Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday

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Post by caangelxox » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:14 pm

Make sure you do train each movement at least twice a week. For me, mine is split into Monday/Thursday and Tuesday/Friday

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Post by pdellorto » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:05 pm

Once a week per movement is plenty for me. I'm also training kendo twice a week (Wednesday and Sunday), and MMA four times a week (Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday), and I'm going to eventually tack on a crossfit workout on Friday or Saturday. My eventual goal is to work back into a once-a-week full-body routine and 3-4 crossfit workouts per week. If all I did was the routine I outlined, I'd probably agree with you, but I'm generally edging on "too much" once you factor in my sports training.

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Post by TimD » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:12 pm

Not to mention, both his workouts are fullbody, eerything is covered, once directly, once indirectly.All moves he picked have carry over to the ohers.
Tim

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New workout

Post by pdellorto » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:29 am

Wow, thanks Tim. I'm flattered. I guess I must be learning if I can design a complimentary program that quickly.

Since we've sort of moved on into my next workout, here we go:

I need something I can work into slowly, and which isn't heavy on explosive lifting because I hurt a back muscle over Christmas break doing a Crossfit WOD and I need to heal it, not tweak it with a bad snatch or hang clean.


If I do the workout, I only need to assign sets and reps. I was thinking roughly of this:

Monday
1) Deadlift - work up to max set of 5 reps
2) DB Split Squat - 3 x 10
3) One Arm DB Press - 2 x 5
4) Weighted Chinup - work up to max set of 5 reps
5) Chinup Holds with quads at 90 degrees - 60 seconds

Thursday
1) Front Squat - work up to max set of 5 reps
2) One-Legged RDL - 3 x 10
3) Bench Press - work up to max set of 5 reps
4) One-Arm Row - 2 x 5
5) L-Fly - 1 x 10

I do think I need a lot of one-leg work to address my uneven hips, and I'm not sure if I'm better off doing 3x10 on those (get in lots of reps, get some endurance and volume) or doing more like 3x5.

I'm also debating doing that two-day workout above, or a modified form of WS4SB3 based on Joe DeFranco's suggestions for a two-day MMA-emphasis split (here). I kind of like the WS4SB approach, since I'd like to get some size as well as strength. I did steal his "work up to" approach for the big lifts.

My goal is basically to regain the strength I've surely lost over my break, without going crazy and hurting myself again. That's the main reason I'm not just doing straight-up Crossfit...I won't take it easy like I need to for a little while, and I'll get hurt.

Peter

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Post by Matt Z » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:06 am

Program looks good. I like how your combining heavy Deadlifts and Front Squats with lighter Split Squats and One-legged Romanian Deadlifts

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Post by TimD » Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:20 am

Ditto here, but I also like DeFranco's. Either way is complimentary. For the unilateral legs, might want to start in the 10 range and tweak if necessary.
Tim

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:02 pm

I think that's what I'll do. The WS4SB version I'm thinking of is like this:

Monday
1) Deadlift - work up to max set of 5
2) Pushups (Feet Elevated) - 3 x max (not failure, just before)
3) Bulgarian Split Squats - 3 x 10
4) Barbell Shrugs / Hammer Curls - Superset 3x10
5) Chinup Static Holds - 60 seconds.
6) Weighted Situps - 4x10

Thursday
1) Jump Squats (with light dumbbells) - 5x3
2) Weighted Chinups - work up to max set of 5
3) Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts - 3 x 10
4) DB Bench Press - 2 x max (weight I can do for 15-20 reps)
5) DB Rows/Seated DB "Power Cleans" - Superset 3x10
6) Ab Circuit - Sprinter Situps, V-Ups, Toe Touches, Hip Thrusts, 2-3 circuits, 10-20 reps, 1 min rest. (2 circuits, 10 reps each)

I might drop the ab work as I'm deadlifting, getting ab work on those chinup holds, and we do crunches, unweighted get-ups, leg lifts, and hip thrusts in BJJ class on Thursday and often do 3-minute rounds of V-ups and leg lifts on Monday's kickboxing class. If the jumping proves too much for me, I'll swap in something like low-weight thrusters for my explosive leg work.

My main concern with it is that it involves less unilateral leg work that I'd wanted, so I made the RDLs on Thursday into Single-Leg RDLs. I'll do bar-only (10kg) RDLs as my initial warmup set for the deadlifts, too, on the recommendation of Rob Isza from Crossfit Morris County. I like how well that got my hamstrings ready for a proper stance when he had me do them.

***

I have to decide soon...I plan to start Monday. I should just flip a coin, both would work...if I do WS4SB3, it'll be funny to be doing curls again. I haven't done them in a long time.

Peter

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:05 pm

By the way caangelxox, I didn't mean to come off as slapping down your advice. It's just I'm in a very different situation than you or some others here. My weight training is supplementary, and I'm effective an older, in-season athlete. I'm 35, battered with injuries, training one sport full time and one part time, and I'm effectively on-season at all times...I actually train less before fights, but only for a week or so before I spring back.

So, thanks for the advice, it's good advice for someone in a more lifting-friendly situation than me!

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