The Importance of Unilateral Training Following An Injury

The #1 predictor of a future injury is a previous injury. Any trauma, no matter how big or small, causes changes in our joints, muscles and nervous system which alters the way we move and increases the likelihood of suffering another injury.

One of the most common movement alterations that occurs following an injury is an over-dominance from the non-injured side. In an attempt to protect the injured limb, our uninjured side will take over. These compensations create muscular imbalances which then carry over once our injury has healed and sets us up for another injury later down the line.

In the rehabilitative setting these imbalances are easily corrected through unilateral training. What we means by ‘unilateral training’ is strengthening each side individually. Think barbell curls (bilateral) vs. dumbbell curls (unilateral).  With barbell curls you’re using both biceps to raise the bar. If one side is weaker than the other, the dominate side can take over to lift the weight. In a dumbbell curl, the weaker side is forced to lift the weight on it’s own.

And this is why unilateral training is imperative to the rehab process. It allows us to correct the muscular imbalances that occur after an injury.

Let's take a look at some ways to turn a bilateral rehab exercise into a unilateral in order to correct these muscular imbalances.

1. Two Leg Lift (Deadlift) vs. Single Leg Deadlift

2. Squat (Goblet) vs. Split Squat

3. Two Leg Bridge vs. One Leg Bridge

Our body is smart. It will easily compensate to 'cover up' deficiencies in movement following an injury. This can lead to future injuries down the line. Unilateral training doesn't allow one side of the body to compensate for the other, which is why it is essential following an injury.

Evolve specializes in creating customized chiropractic and therapeutic fitness plans to help individuals recover from injury, provide long term pain relief, and improve daily performance. Learn more at the link below.