Your Goal: The Illustrious V
Your Time: 30 Minutes
Even if you’re unfamiliar with unilateral training, you practice it every day. Any movement in which your arms or legs function independently – even walking – is unilateral. Certain single-arm or single-leg exercises, such as the single-arm bench press, require a great deal of balance and thus limit the amount of weight you can lift. Others, like most of the moves in this workout, help you lift more by focusing your strength on one limb.
“Think of it this way: If you were to perform a row using two arms, you might grab a pair of 14kg (30 pounds) dumbbells. But use just one arm and you could probably handle a 23kg (50 pounds) weight,” says strength and conditioning coach Robert Dos Remedios. This workout includes a mix of single-arm and traditional two-arm exercises to help you pack on muscle and eliminate imbalances. The benefit, says Dos Remedios, is that you’ll build a more balanced body in strength and appearance. You’ll train three days a week, resting at least a day between workouts and alternating between Workout A and Workout B. Refer to the set and repetition protocols pictured at right, and remember to rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.
How Do You Measure Up?
Don’t be discouraged if your body shape initially looks more like the letter “I” than like a “V” – the average guy’s back-to-waist ratio is 1:1.
To measure the width of your upper back and waist, stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Ask a friend or workout partner to wrap a measuring tape around your body at the outer edges of your shoulder blades, just under your armpits. This measures your back width. Measure your waist by wrapping the tape around you so it rests at the top of each hip bone.
Track Your Progress?
Record your measurements in the chart below. Then follow this workout and re-measure
yourself every 2 weeks.
1. Side-To-Side Pull-Up
Grab a chin-up bar with an overhand grip, your hands wider than shoulder width. Pull yourself up and to the right with the goal of bringing your chin to your right hand. Lower yourself. Next, pull yourself up and towards your left hand, then lower yourself.
The plan: Do 4 sets of 5 reps with each arm in weeks 1 and 3. In weeks 2 and 4, perform 5 sets of 3 reps with each arm. If you can’t complete all the reps, place a step or bench under the bar so you can step up to the bar and complete the negative, or downward,portion of each rep.