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You may be squatting strong, but barely holding the Warrior pose in yoga. How can you be so strong in one thing and so weak in another? The solution involves doing both asymmetrical and unilateral exercises.

It feels secure to be balanced on a Smith Machine Squat or a leg press machine. For most of us, it’s more awkward to do a single leg squat with one dumbbell or a step up to shoulder press with one leg. How important is it to add in the unbalanced exercises? If want to excel in athletic and everyday movements, it’s a good idea to incorporate asymmetrical movements.

Do you want to be able to play some football with your kids? Do you want to be able to carry the grocery bags while opening the trunk? Do you want to excel at yoga? The National Council on Strength and Fitness (www.ncsf.org) stays that “the best way to correct the problems with symmetrical work (think regular squat) is to use asymmetrical exercises. Although unilateral can be argued to be asymmetrical there are underlying differences.”

When you do a dumbbell Romanian deadlift from single leg stance, it’s unilateral training. If a single dumbbell is used, it can then be called asymmetrical. “Unilateral training is most useful for improving range of motion and stability in the muscles around the joint, whereas asymmetrical training enhances stabilizers across the kinetic chain,” according to the NCSF.

Master the balance These moves will allow you to progress from unilateral training to strengthen the joint to improve overall stability of the tackled muscle to fully engage other surrounding muscles across the body. Do the exact same move, but use one dumbbell for the second variation.

a)    From two dumbbell single-leg squat to one dumbbell single-leg squat

b)    From two dumbbells unilateral Romanian Deadlift to one dumbbell unilateral Romanian deadlift

c)    From two dumbbell lunges to shoulder press to one dumbbell lunge to shoulder press

d)    From two dumbbell unilateral deadlift to row to one dumbbell unilateral deadlift to row.

This is what will make you strong and fit in and out of the gym. Work through unbalance to master the those really impressive everyday feats of strength and agility.

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