Make no mistake, if you are not doing these exercises then you should incorporate them ASAP.
- Split Squats
This is the single most brutal yet best unilateral exercise you are not doing… “but what’s a unilateral exercise?” Well these are exercise that use single limbs to aid stability, strength, mobility and muscle imbalances. Instead of doing usual lifts like back squats or lunges for that matter. This movement targets all the same muscle groups but places greater focus on the quadriceps and core due to the single-leg, balance challenge that the exercise provides. Trust me, you can squat 200kg but struggle to do 20kg per side of Split Squats which shows the greater work your body has to do to do split squats. When I lived in Whitehorse, a coach called Ross (@rossnesbittfitness) would only do single limb work and you know what? He was strong AF!
The biggest challenge with these is stabilising the core and using your glutes a lot more than a usual squat. I have found in the past, that if my glutes do not take the heavy loads of my squat then my lower back takes over. Whilst using a BSS, it takes pressure off your lower back if you use dumbbells. So how do you do split squats?
There are a few variations which have different components for example, front foot split squats aid more ankle mobility as you force your knee over the toe while back foot split squats put more emphasis on stretching the hip flexor in the back leg. Try both variations. If you like pain.
2. Single Leg RDL
Again, using unilateral leg work is very important for stability, mobility, strength & improve muscle balance. Old-fashioned, two-footed deadlifts train the hell out of the glutes and hamstrings and build overall muscle strength, size, and power. Even though the single-leg Romanian deadlift can’t be loaded as heavy due to the less stable position it puts you in, it offers a lot of other advantages that the classic deadlift doesn’t.
The single leg RDL aids your posterior chain strength, increase hamstring flexibility & coordination in your whole body. There is a reason why its prescribed to the best athletes in the world.
3. Dumbbell Seal Rows
This just pips the Pendlay Row. The seal row gets its name from the fact that, when you try to lift heavier weights on this exercise, your legs will often “flap” up and down behind you like a seal. Unlike one arm rows or barbell rows, there is no way you can “cheat” by using momentum as your chest is always supported on the bench. The “reverse bench press” reveals your actual strength rather than your “momentum strength”. Using Dumbbells, it also aids muscle imbalances and it will truly show your true strength. As a powerlifter, having a bigger back will increase your bench press so using this exercise should be a staple in your workouts.
4) One Arm Dumbbell Press
The half-bench single-arm press is a valuable addition to your training routine that can help to strengthen your chest. Again, as I keep stating, it will really aid your muscle imbalances when it comes to the bench press. Not only will you get a great pump in your chest but you will also get a great core workout as you need to stabilise your core so you do not fall off the bench. This is a great exercise
First and foremost, hollow hold work helps you build core strength-endurance, something which is absolutely necessary for a strong and stable core. A full hollow body position requires the arms extended straight overhead squeezing the ears and legs extended straight out with toes pointed and heels hovering inches off the floor. This is a brutal exercise and if don’t correctly will have your core screaming within a matter of sets. The hollow position works all anterior muscles while giving your back a break. By isolating the abs will aid your core when it comes to squat, bench & deadlift.
These are brutal. I have nothing more to say than have fun with these (muhahaha)