No Deadlift For You!
Are We Really Doing CrossFit?

Unilateral or Bilateral?

The preponderance of the resistance work that we do at CrossFit Koncepts is with Kettlebells.  I'm not saying that we don't toss around the Olympic Bar from time to time, because we do, but we focus on the Kettlebell because in my opinion it is a tremendously effective tool to build strength, mobility and power.

One of the reasons that I feel comfortable saying this, aside from using Kettlebells on a daily basis for over a decade, is that I quickly found that by developing unilateral strength, meaning that I am loading one side at a time or even both sides with seperate tools (i.e. Kettlebells), that my real world strength far exceeds that of someone who trains bilaterally (i.e. with a bar or a machine).

If you've been to any of my workshops at a military or law enforcement facility you've seen me drive this point home standing side by side with some tough, strong and (considerably) younger hombres.  What do I do?  I load an Olympic bar with 135 lbs and ask for three volunteers to come up and clean and press the bar for five times. Once they've done it I'll do it as well - what's fair is fair.  Then I have them try to clean and press two 54 lbs Kettlebells the same amount of times.  What happens?  Well, the guys who could actually press the 135 lbs bar can't clear the two Kettlebells from their shoulders, and if they can, it usually looks something like an epileptic fit and I have to stop them before they hurt themselves.  I'll then grab the two Kettlebells and press them both, press them one at a time, and then See-Saw press them.  What happens with the Olympic Bar?  I Snatch it one handed and carry it off to the side...

NOTE: I'm not writing this to brag or sound tough; anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not into BS or posturing - I'm more of a "put-up or shut-up" kind of person.  This is just an example of what Unilateral training, in this case dedicated training with Kettlebells, is all about. Ask anyone who has trained with Kettlbells for a while and they will tell you the same thing - Kettlebells will make you stronger in a shorter time (and be more functional and versatile) than using a bar.  Don't believe me?  Try it out for yourself...

BTW - need a little science to back the Unilateral vs. Bilateral claim?  Check out this article by Charles Poliquin about optimizing the anabolic response with unilateral training.


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