unilateral training

Unilateral Training For Your Chest (BONUS Workout Included)

Did your spotter skip chest day? We know it’s rare for your gym partner to skip out on chest day (because they usually flake on leg day), but it could happen. If so, you can still get a great chest day in without your bench press spotter. While you are lifting solo, try swapping out the bench press for a single arm cable chest press. Unilateral training is a great way to ensure results if you’re meticulous with your form and this move will guarantee you won’t cheat.

The single-arm cable chest press is an excellent upper body strengthening exercise that will work more than just your chest. Your shoulders, triceps, and core will also have to put in some work.

Cable machines provide a few additional benefits as well:

  • By performing unilateral training chest exercises on cable machines, you work each pec separately allowing the work to be divided equally.  This is optimal for symmetry.
  • Because you are in a standing position for this chest exercise, you are recruiting different sets of muscles for stabilization which requires more of your whole body for the exercise.
  • If you’ve had previous injuries, cables are easier on your joints.
  • Cables provide constant resistance through your entire range of motion.

How To Do The Single Arm Cable Chest Press

  1. Set a cable pulley to shoulder height and attach the D-handle.
  2. Grab the D-handle with your right hand. Turn and face away from the cable station. Set your hand so that your palm is facing downward.
  3. Get into a staggered stance.  
  4. Hold your left hand straight in front of you for balance.
  5. Begin by pushing your right hand forward. Push to full extension while simultaneously pulling your left arm back to your shoulders.
  6. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to your starting position.
  7. After you’ve completed your first set, switch arms and repeat on the other side.

Trainer Tips:

Make sure that you have a very stable, staggered stance for this exercise. You should not be rotating at your hips or torso or at all as you push the weight forward for this exercise. If your stance is stable and the weight is appropriate, the only parts of you that will move are your shoulder, chest, and arms.

Sample Exercise Plan

  • Single arm cable chest press 3 sets of 10-12 on each side
  • Incline dumbbell flye 4 sets 8, 10, 12, 8
  • Cable crossovers 3 sets of 10-12
  • Close grip dumbbell chest press 4 sets of 8, 10, 12, 8
  • Flat bench dumbbell flye 4 sets 8, 10, 12, 8
  • Pec deck machine 3 sets of 10-12
  • Dips for chest 1 set to failure

Know what we're sayin fam?

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