How Stability and Individual Limb Training can help Reduce Risk of Injury AND build a better foundation.
Bilateral Training still has valid use and will be continued to use, but have you seen a athlete squat 300+ Lbs then can't seem to complete a single leg squat?
A 2018 research paper in The Journal of Applied Physiology, studied Cross Education, a transfer of strength from one limb to the opposite limb.
Cross education of strength refers to the strength gain that is transferred to the contralateral limb following a unilateral training program in the ipsilateral limb. The mechanisms behind the cross education of strength include cortical and spinal adaptations, which alter the neural drive to the contralateral, untrained limb
At Ground Force, the one thing we emphasize the most is movement and stability. Having the ability to change direction effectively and with power, requires strength as the foundation. One way we continue to help athletes and non athletes alike is using contralateral and unilateral training and because Cross Education requires a large amount of neural recruitment, stabilization exercises tie in nicely.
Leg Dominance is also a contributor to injury and a reduction in performance, and also why we train individual limbs with stability, strength and power exercises (de
pending on time of year).
Leg Dominance creates muscular imbalances and additional joint torque that needs to be matched with balancing the opposite limb. Read More here
Challenging the muscular system also means to challenge the neuromuscular system with stability. This is often uncomfortable to athletes because they feel less successful in the beginning, however the long term benefits are worth it.
Change of Direction and Leg Dominance is also a factor in injury prevention and performance training. This 2020 study showed that there was no major difference between male and female athletes is side to side training with the exception on Knee Internal Rotation, which leads me to my last point on single leg stability and training.
Understanding which exercises to select for each athlete and learning their movement patterns will often show where the imbalances are. Functional Movement Screenings are a wonderful tool and we use them with just about everyone we see, however watching a push-up, plank or running will also help identify imbalances.
Start with bodyweight before moving into adding loads, as well as lateral power movements such as lateral hops or heidens.
Until Next Time....