Single Side Shenanigans
Hopefully, you're already spending at least part of your workout time on single side exercises. If you're not...well, it's time for a change. Single side movements not only provide great strength and mass gains (just like their two side counterparts), but they also build balance, coordination, and symmetry.
Single Side 1
A1) Single Leg Broad Jump, 5 reps per side:
This isn't a big twist on the classic broad jump, but it does make the movement more difficult. Start with both feet together, then lift one off the ground. Swing your arms behind you and make a quick knee bend. Then, explosively swing your arms forward and spring off your chosen foot. As you land, let both feet softly absorb the impact - try not to land on your heels.
A2) Single Arm Medicine Ball Throw, 5 reps per side:
Similar to the broad jump, this is another small single-side twist. Set your feet shoulder-width with knees slightly bent, at a 90-degree angle from a wall. Hold the ball in both hands. Quickly twist toward the wall and let one arm explode, throwing the ball at the wall. The ball should fly in a straight line.
B1) Single Leg RDL, 8 reps per side:
If you've never seen this exercise before, it's best learned via visual representation - pay attention to the video. If you know how to hip hinge, you'll pick it up quickly. If not, just remember to keep just a slight bend in your knees, a straight and flat back, squeeze your glutes, and hinge at the hips.
B2) TRX Power Pull, 8 reps per side:
Pay close attention to the video. Set the straps to mid-length, face the TRX, and grab one handle. Reach forward with your other hand - the hand gripping the handle will end up in a rowing position. Extend the arm holding the strap and let your other arm open up, out to the side and back. As to come back to the start, try to focus on core and back, not arms.
C1) Slider Reverse Lunge, 8 reps per side:
This combines a very knee-friendly lunge variation with a slider to aid balance and coordination. If you don't have access to a slider, use a sock or towel on wood or tile floor. Start with both feet together, one foot on the slider. From here, it's the same reverse lunge movement you already know. Instead of pulling your foot off the ground, however, you'll simply slide it backward.
C2) Single Arm TRX Curl, 10 reps per side:
Set the straps to mid-length (and single hand mode) and position yourself at a 90-degree angle from the TRX. Grab the handle with one arm and set a moderate angle. While keeping the elbow at shoulder height - pretend there's an invisible bench under it - pull the handle toward the side of your head.
Single Side 2
A1) Single Leg Squat to Frog Jump, 6 reps per side:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DuE_ScvXwtg / http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OiFz65MwrIc
Unless you're already comfortable with single leg squats, squat to a box for balance. Perform a single leg squat by straightening one leg out in front of your body and letting the other make a squatting movement. Tap the box, then immediately explode forward off the working leg into a frog jump.
A2) Single Arm DB Push Press, 8 reps per side:
This movement will feel similar to the single arm ball throw. Set up in the same stance - shoulder-width, slightly bent knees. Hold a dumbbell with one arm in a cocked position. In one fluid motion, make a quick knee bend and explode upward with the dumbbell. Be careful lowering it back into position, and don't be afraid to use your other arm to help control it.
B1) Suitcase Deadlift, 8 reps per side:
It's all about resisting rotation. Set your feet shoulder-width and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Hinge your hips and slowly drop to the floor, lowering the dumbbell as close to the ground as possible. Make sure you don't let the weight pull you to that side. Finally, explode upward to finish the movement.
B2) Modified Single Arm TRX Pushup, 8 reps per side:
Disclaimer: these are not
easy. Set the TRX straps to long, face away from the anchor point, and set the handles to single-hand mode. Set up in the classic pushup position, but set your feet in a wide stance and place one arm along the small of your back, locking your shoulder blades into place. As you descend, try not to let your elbow flare out and keep your hips at neutral as possible.
C1) Single Side Mountain Climbers, 30 seconds per side: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-20CQrvbko
These aren't too different from your everyday mountain climber. Drop into a pushup position, as you normally would. Instead of bringing left knee to left elbow and right knee to right elbow, both knees will move toward one elbow. To increase the difficulty, increase the tempo or use sliders.
C2) Single Arm Cable Row, 10 reps per side:
Set up in front of a cable machine with a D-shaped handle about stomach height. Grab the handle, step back, and slightly bend you knees. Now, as you did in the TRX pushup, place one hand along the small of your back and tuck your shoulder blades. Keeping your body nice and straight, row toward your body. The one things you need to watch for: shoulder movement.
Single Arm Farmer's Carry, 30 seconds per side:
We've covered the farmer's carry in a few workouts already. Now, similar to the suitcase deadlift, you'll be doing a one arm carry. The movement is exactly the same, except you'll only have weight in one hand. The goal is to keep yourself as straight as if you were holding a weight in both arms - don't sway to the weighted side. Keep your hips and shoulders perfectly aligned.
What You Need To Know:
Perform each workout once per week with the finisher at the end of both. Start with 2 sets the first week, 3 sets the second week, and 4 sets the third week. If there's only one thing you remember about single side work, it needs to be this: quality over quantity. Many of these movements are more technical than the double side variation because you're trying to resist rotation. When in doubt, always slow down the movement and focus on your technique. And, as usual, perform each exercise in pairs - do exercise A1, rest, do exercise A2, rest, repeat.