Unilateral instead of bilateral weights for the 400m

I am sure this has been covered in many forms so please excuse me for starting a similar thread.

I have found various benefits of using unilateral leg weights over the big bilateral exercises such as squats and dead lifts. With the 100m in mind I would not replace bilateral exercises with unilateral exercises. Ultimately I feel they do not produce the same CNS drive or power at the joint. Unilateral movements would be supplementary here.

However, for 400m training does ultimate power matter? For the 400m strength training may be sufficient with unilateral weights alone, and by removing bilateral exercises the athlete may have more energy in reserve for running and injury potential may be lowered.

Are there any top 400m sprinters who do not use the back squat and other big movements? I know Iwan Thomas often left out legs in the gym.

I’m sure there are many top 400m runners that don’t use squats or big movements as you call them. Its never a matter of right or wrong with what you do with training, but varying degrees of optimal or suboptimal, specific or unspecific and individual. The question is really what level of acceleration does your athlete require? Could a strength stimulus help that athlete in that regard and what level of stimulus is appropriate?

The other aspect of unilateral work is to help with asymmetries.

Asymmetries aside, I agree the main benefit does seem to be acceleration. The 1st 50m was always my best part of the race and I never seem to lose it so I suppose bilateral exercise could take a back seat.