Unilateral vs. Bilateral Stretching


Stretching is key to maintaining your flexibility and should be done as often as you can, in fact, daily would be the ideal. Not only does stretching improve flexibility, it also improves your performance, decreases your risk of injury, promotes balance, and stability. It's always smart to stretch before and after strength and cardio training--think about it as a great warm-up, and an important cool-down.  

Two ways to get that stretching in.
Unilateral, one-sided, means the stretch is performed on one side of the body, or one limb at a time. Whereas, bilateral, both sides of the body or both limbs are stretched simultaneously.

Of course, both these forms of stretching come with pros and cons, and sometimes it's just about personal preference or on the flipside it can be the ability to do one or the other safely and comfortably when a client is faced with balance limitations due to injury or aging.  

Unilateral Stretching


  • Quicker increase in Range of Motion (ROM)
  • Less limits on ROM
  • More specified to problem areas


  • More time consuming
  • Doesn't guarantee symmetric development

Bilateral Stretching

  • Stretches both sides equally
  • Completed much quicker than unilateral
  • More symmetric development


  • Slow increase of ROM
  • Limits ROM (due to both sides contracting simultaneously - think big arm circles...)

Of course, this is just a very basic comparison. Interested in learning more about unilateral and bilateral stretching and which is more appropriate for your clients in their individual situations? Take our Stretching and Flexibility Instruction Certification exam by clicking the link below.


Stretching and Flexibility Certification Online

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