Biology of Sport
eISSN: 2083-1862
ISSN: 0860-021X
Biology of Sport
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vol. 39
Review paper

Effects of unilateral vs. bilateral resistance training interventions on measures of strength, jump, linear and change of direction speed: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Kai-Fang Liao
1, 2
George P. Nassis
3, 4
Chris Bishop
Wei Yang
Chao Bian
Yong-Ming Li
1, 6

School of Physical Education and Sport Training, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
Department of Strength and Conditioning, Guangdong Vocational Institute of Sport, Guangzhou, China
Physical Education Department, College of Education (CEDU), United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, Faculty of Health Sciences, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
School of Science and Technology, London Sport Institute, Middlesex University, London, UK
China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China
Biol Sport. 2022;39(3):485–497
Online publish date: 2021/07/03
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Exercises can be categorized into either unilateral or bilateral movements. Despite the topic popularity, the answer to the question as to which (unilateral or bilateral) is superior for a certain athletic performance enhancement remains unclear. To compare the effect of unilateral and bilateral resistance training interventions on measures of athletic performance. Keywords related with unilateral, bilateral and performance were used to search in the Web of Science, PubMed databases, and Google Scholar and ResearchGate™ websites. 6365 articles were initially identified, 14 met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis, with overall article quality being deemed moderate. The quantitative analysis comprised 392 subjects (aged: 16 to 26 years). Sub-group analysis showed that unilateral exercise resistance training resulted in a large effect in improving unilateral jump performance compared to bilateral training (ES = 0.89 [0.52, 1.26]). In contrast, bilateral exercise resistance training showed a small effect in improving bilateral strength compared

to unilateral (ES = -0.43 [-0.71, -0.14]). Non-significant differences were found in improving unilateral strength (ES = 0.26 [-0.03, 0.55]), bilateral jump performance (ES = -0.04 [-0.31, 0.23]), change of direction (COD) (ES = 0.31 [-0.01, 0.63]) and speed (ES = -0.12 [-0.46, 0.21]) performance. Unilateral resistance training exercises should be chosen for improving unilateral jumping performance, and bilateral resistance training exercises should be chosen for improving bilateral strength performance.

Exercise selection, Unilateral exercises, Bilateral exercises, Performance, Specificity

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