Ask The $250/Hour Trainer (New Column Debuts!)

In this column, Joe Dowdell, CSCS, of Peak Performance Gym in New York City, tackles two of your questions.


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.

Barbell Deadlift

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

Tuesday: Upper Body

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Lower Body

Friday: Upper Body

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.

Dowdell's methods are sometimes unconventional...but so are his results.
Dowdell's methods are sometimes unconventional...but so are his results.

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

Dynamic activation drills