A key part of your core’s job is to help you stabilize during the asymmetrical movements of daily life, keeping your body steady as you open doors, get in cars, or carry bags of groceries.
And that’s why it doesn’t make sense to train only with symmetrical movements. Most traditional gym exercises ask both sides of your body to do the same thing, but by inserting a few asymmetrical moves into your workouts, you’ll activate your core in real-life ways while also readying your body for the challenges of daily life.
Such moves will help make you more athletic, too, because how often do you really get to be in a perfectly balanced position when you’re on the basketball court or the baseball diamond?
Try out these five moves—the single-arm EZ-bar curl, the single-arm kettlebell deadlift, the single-arm dumbbell bench press, the uneven pullup, and the half-kneeling bottoms-up kettlebell press—in your workouts to start building that athleticism, improving your balance, and challenging your core.
The key on each exercise is to tighten your abs, glutes, and lower back, and work to stay centered even though the imbalanced weight is trying to drag you to you to one side or the other. Work these into your training as a second move, following your heaviest exercise, to make gains.
(Try more fat-burning, muscle-building workouts from Metashred Extreme by Men’s Health.)