McCurdy, K., Langford, G., Doscher, M., & Walker, J. (2012). Comparison of unilateral versus bilateral resistance training on absolute and relative strength. Presentation 1858 at the 59th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, San Francisco, California; May 29-June 2, 2012.

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This study determined whether a bilateral versus unilateral strength training program improved absolute and relative 1 RM bilateral and unilateral squat performances in young adult males and females. Ss' 1 RM bilateral and unilateral (each leg) squat were measured both prior to and following an eight-week resistance training program. Ss were randomly assigned to either a bilateral or unilateral, lower-body training program utilizing the back and front squat and Romanian deadlift. The resistance training consisted of a linear periodization program with intensity increasing weekly from 60-95% while decreasing the volume.

A trial-by-gender interaction was observed for both the left- and right-leg unilateral squats. Males improved to a much greater degree than females. For the bilateral squat, no gender difference in improvement was observed. For the bilateral squat relative to lean body mass, a trial-by-group interaction was observed. The bilateral-training group improved to a greater degree than the unilateral-training group.

Implication. Bilateral resistance training is more effective for improving bilateral 1 RM squat relative to lean body mass than unilateral resistance training. For unilateral 1 RM squat performance, males show greater improvement than females, and bilateral training is as equally effective as unilateral training.

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