Simeon Panda’s Unilateral Workout

Simeon Panda’s Unilateral Workout

Make your workouts anatomically bulletproof with Simeon Panda’s unilateral workout

Photography: Rich McCarter

Few fitness journeys are quite as notorious as that of YouTube sensation Simeon Panda. He takes his famous physique down to the Mecca at Gold’s Gym Venice Beach to introduce Muscle and Health readers to his way of unilateral thinking. 

It’s time to go back to school with his go-to single-side moves.

Often overlooked, unilateral exercise is a highly effective means of building a symmetrical frame whilst helping to prevent injury and develop hardcore stability. Defying your dominant side to counteract muscle and strength imbalances is as simple as taking it one side at a time, and Simeon Panda is here to show us how to stay single.

“Training unilaterally allows you to truly focus on the muscle you’re working on, ensuring you perform full contractions on each side. This also helps greatly with assessing and correcting any strength and size imbalances.”

So let’s take a closer look at to create a body modelled on Simeon’s with his unilateral workout. 

The benefits of unilateral training

Looking at Simeon’s body is probably enough to convince you that unilateral training is a good idea, and that you should incorporate it into your routine. 

“When you’re using a heavy weight and you become fatigued, if there is a possibility to continue the exercise unilaterally, do it! It’s a great way to truly get the most from the set and work towards true failure. The best way to achieve this is via both compound and isolation exercises, performed bilaterally and unilaterally.

Unilateral exercise is perfect if you are looking to correct muscle imbalances as you are not training the same muscles all of the time, you are training your body equally. 

Core muscles in both your upper body and lower body will be targeted. So if you are looking to fix imbalances and strengthen up your non dominant, weaker side, this could be just what you’re looking for.

Unilateral exercise: The workout

Getting as impressive a physique as Simeon begins with knowing how to train. 

So, what does a typical session look like?

 Single Leg Press (targets quads, hamstrings and glutes)

 Single Leg Press

In the leg press machine, line your foot up with your shoulder on the platform and push back without locking your knee. 

Slowly lower the platform until your knee is 90 degrees to the floor, then drive back to the start position through your heel.

Alternating Single Arm Lat Pulldown (targets lats, traps and delts)

Alternating Single Arm Lat Pulldown

For the perfect single-arm lat pulldown, grab the stirrups in each hand and sit with your thighs under the supports. 

Smoothly pull one cable down to the front of your shoulder, than return, making sure your arm is fully extended when you do. Repeat, alternating between arms.

Smith Machine Single Arm Bench Press (targets chest, shoulders and triceps)

Smith Machine Single Arm Bench Press

Lower the bar so you can reach it while lying down on your back with your arms fully extended toward the ceiling. Set the safety pins at a height that allows you to lower the bar in a full range of motion, where your elbows go just past 90 degrees. 

Make sure each movement up and down is both smooth and exaggerated to avoid cutting corners and get the maximum benefit from this exercise. Allow a brief pause when the arms are extended before lowering.

Single Arm Pec Dec Fly (targets chest and delts)

Single Arm Pec Dec Fly

Sit down on the bench and grab the handle with your hand. Keep the arm straight and keep your body still when pulling the handle in. 

Repeat for the other arm. Once again, a smooth exaggerated motion is best, as this will allow you to feel the workout better. Always breathe out as you pull the handle in.

Single Leg Extension (targets quads)

Single Leg Extension

Once you’ve adjusted the seat, select the appropriate weight. Fully extend your right leg in a smooth, powerful motion and return to the starting position without pausing. Make sure you keep the tension on the muscles and repeat sets for the left leg.

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