Alternating Dumbbell Bench Press To Test Your Chest and Bilateral Strength Deficit (say
that ten times really fast!)

What you say? … What’s the Bilateral Deficit? Here’s the researcher’s definition of the Bilateral Limb
Deficit (BLD):

“BLD is the difference in maximal or near maximal force generating capacity of muscles when they
are contracted alone or in combination with the contralateral muscles. A deficit occurs when the
summed unilateral force is greater than the bilateral force. The BLD has been observed by a number
of researchers in both upper and lower limbs….. The underlying cause of the deficit remains
unknown.”

Now in plain speak: the bilateral deficit is the difference between what you can lift with one limb at
a time versus with both limbs for the same exercise – e.g. you may be able to 1-arm overhead press a
20kg dumbbell for 10 reps but struggle to do 10 reps of a 2-arm overhead press with 15kg dumbbells
– in this case you would have a bilateral deficit.

The bilateral deficit is more pronounced in beginners compared to more advanced lifters. To
discover how this phenomenon works, it’s best to learn by doing. Below you we have given you
instructions that will not only provide you with some unique insight about yourself but also provide
you with a good chest finisher….so you can walk out of the gym of a Monday night knowing that
your pecs are more inflated than the other guys and you also now possess experiential wisdom and
knowledge of a mysterious physiological phenomenon known as BLD.

Try this experiment at the end of your normal chest routine:
 Grab a pair of dumbbells that are about 75% of your dumbbell chest press 10 rep Max
 Do one set of AMRP (As Many Reps Possible) of alternating dumbbell bench press until you
can’t do any more and reach failure on both sides. Don’t stop the exercise here though –
Immediately try to press both dumbbells up and together this time (i.e. standard dumbbell
bench press) for AMRP. You may be surprised with what happens and the state of what
seemed like exhausted muscles

As hinted at earlier, the more advanced a trainee is, the less of a bilateral deficit they should have.
However, this shouldn’t stop one from performing unilateral exercises (one limb exercises) and
these exercises should be performed to correct any imbalances a person has between different sides
of the body. As a general rule, dual limb exercises should proceed single limb exercises in strength
training. Why? Bilateral exercises tend to be better at amplifying the nervous system and overall
strength due to their increased loading capability when compared to their unilateral exercise
counterparts.

If you are still unsure of how to structure your workouts and exercise types, our advice is to practice
both bilateral and unilateral exercises and keep tabs on your strength levels for all them – this way
you can correct imbalances before they become too great.

To learn more about this exercise and many others, contact us today and book your
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