Picture yourself running, biking, swimming, using a rowing machine or elliptical trainer, hiking or walking. While the specific movements involved in each of these types of exercises are indeed different, all movement patterns have something in common: they involve going from point A to point B in a forward direction. While it may not seem new or important, the fact that we train our bodies almost exclusively in a forward and backward direction, in a plane of motion known as the sagittal plane, East actually somewhat problematic. Focusing solely on forward and backward movements can create muscle imbalances and neglect critical stabilizing muscles, increasing your risk of musculoskeletal injury and limiting your overall athletic performance potential.
Sideways training can be considered the antidote to this common fitness training pitfall. As the name suggests, the side workout involves side-to-side exercises and is an important — but often overlooked — part of a comprehensive workout program. Although you can incorporate a few lateral training exercises into your training routine, it is likely that your general movement patterns and strengthening exercises will be out of balance, as the emphasis on the importance of lateral training in is still in its infancy. Keep reading our guide to lateral training and get ready to use new muscles and shake up your workout routine.
What is lateral training?
Lateral training involves performing exercises that have a lateral movement pattern or include movements that occur in what is known as the frontal plane. For example, a side lunge, in which you separate your legs and step one out to the side, then load that leg by bending your knee and leaning into the leg, is a side exercise, whereas a front lunge is not. ‘is not.
What are the benefits of lateral training?
As mentioned, since the majority of our movements and attention are forward directed both in fitness and in everyday life, many training programs and exercises focus only on the forward and forward directions. back. As a result, we regularly build strength in large muscle groups like the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
However, because we train these muscles intensively, we end up leaning on them at the expense of small stabilizing muscles responsible for lateral movement, such as the hip abductors, such as the gluteus medius, and the hip stabilizers and rotators. external as the piriformis, superior gemellus, and inferior gemellus. As a result, these stabilizing muscles become increasingly weak, which can increase your risk of injury as they may eventually lack the strength to support you if you suddenly make a sideways movement or load your body in a sideways direction.
Thus, the main benefits of lateral training include its ability to correct muscle imbalances, restore optimal movement patterns and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. Lateral training also improves your flexibility, balance, core strength and body awareness.
Should I do a side workout?
A common misconception is that lateral training is only important for athletes who participate in sports with lateral movement such as football, tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer and baseball. . However, lateral training is equally important for athletes who participate in or complete endurance sports with forward motion, such as running, swimming, rowing, cycling, and triathlon, and everyday individuals who are simply trying to stay in shape.
While athletes who participate in contact sports or sports with a high degree of lateral agility may need to place more emphasis on lateral exercises, everyone should incorporate lateral training into their training routine. training to prevent muscle imbalances and resulting injuries.
Exercise equipment for lateral training
For the most part, the same exercise equipment that you would use for standard strength exercises, such as dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and medicine balls, can be used for lateral training exercises. There is also additional specialist exercise equipment designed to make lateral training exercises easier, namely slide boards and glide discs for your feet.
A gliding board is a thin, smooth board that is used with special, smooth liners to eliminate friction and create a somewhat ice-like environment. The slide board has bumpers on each end so that various exercises like speed skating from side to side can be performed.
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Examples of Lateral Workout Exercises
Here are examples of effective side workout exercises that will strengthen a variety of lower body, core, or upper body stabilizer muscles:
- Side slits
- gliding speed skaters
- Clam shells
- Resistance Band Side Steps
- Side Planks with Leg Raise
- Boards with sliding arms
- Spider-Man push-ups
- side hop
- Crab side walks
- Lateral lifts
- Side shuffles
- Agility Ladder Drills
- Lateral Cross Steps and Runs
- Zigzag running exercises
- Side Lying Leg Raises
- Medicine Ball Chops
How often should you incorporate lateral training into your workout routine?
Ideally, lateral training should be incorporated into all of your workouts to some degree, regardless of your primary sport, fitness goal, age, or fitness experience. Since athletes who follow specific training programs are more likely to use lateral movements and rapid changes of direction in action, the training routines of competitive athletes often already include lateral training, although it is often wise to insist further.
Like other forms of training – cardio, core training, balance work, strength training, etc. – some form of lateral training should be a component of your training, but variety is essential; some days lateral training can be the focus, while other days it can be more nuanced. Similarly, some workouts may involve lateral cardio exercises on a slide board, while others may involve lateral strength exercises like side lunges.