I love deadlifting, squatting, and bench pressing, but I'm reading a lot of stuff on the Internet about the need for unilateral work. Do I need to include it or is this BS?
Joe: Keep doing your "big three" lifts, but definitely include unilateral work for your arms and legs.
One major benefit will be identifying any differences in strength, stability, flexibility, and mobility between your right and left sides.
By narrowing and then closing this deficit, your injury potential will decrease and your performance in those bigger, bilateral lifts will improve.
Without designing an entire workout program, I suggest arranging your training week something like this:
Monday: Lower Body
- Emphasis: "Clean"-Grip Deadlift
- Unilateral Supplement: Split Squat
Tuesday: Upper Body
- Emphasis: Barbell Bench Press
- Unilateral Supplement: Alternating Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (neutral-grip)
Thursday: Lower Body
- Emphasis: Barbell Squat
- Unilateral Supplement: Lateral Slide Board Squat
Friday: Upper Body
- Emphasis: Chin-up (neutral grip)
- Unilateral Supplement: Unilateral Dumbbell Trap 3 Raise
Saturday and Sunday: Rest
When sequencing your workout, whatever comes first always receives the most benefit. So the priority here remains the main lifts.
If you find a pretty big discrepancy between your right and left sides, place the unilateral exercises for the weak sides first in each training session, until the imbalance is corrected.
Hey, Joe, my posture sucks and I'm self conscious about it. What exercises or stretches would you recommend?
Joe: I'd spend four weeks incorporating a back specialization phase into your overall training program.
Let's say you're training your whole body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at present. Before starting each day's work, perform this sequence:
Self-myofascial release work with a foam roller, a tennis ball, or both
- On the T-Spine Area
- On the Lats
- On the Pecs