Creative and Unconventional Workouts to Maximize Effectiveness

There are many benefits of changing your workout routine and keeping things fresh. One thing you don’t hear much about are the benefits of unconventional training and odd object training. This post was fired up when I was showing a couple of new athletes the dreaded hanging dumbbell chain bench press. One of them asked me, “Do you just think of this stuff as you go?” I started to say no, and then my brain started churning and I said, “Well, sometimes”.

Not in the case of the exercise we were doing, but there are an infinite number or training tools and there is no way you can fit them all in one gym. So you need to get creative. Many of you may have witnessed my night-long project of the banded dip resistance, or even last night with my “human crucifix hold” (successful and perfected, I must say).

What is the point of all this? And more importantly, what is the benefit of all this? Well, there are quite a few so lets get into them.

Point #1 – Lots of my workouts for athletes involve “odd objects”. I enjoy odd objects because they are likely not going to have a center of gravity, they force you to use more stabilization, and they will improve your coordination.

Point #2 – Building off point number 1, this stabilization is going to force you to dig in and stay firm, which will improve your core strength.

Point #3 – Standard weight training usually involves one plane of motion. Slamming, throwing, flipping, pulling, and even grabbing are going to train several plains of motion.

Point #4 – Odd objects get rid of the “how much can you ____” aspect that I can’t stand at the gym. An athlete who can curl more weight than someone else means absolutely nothing when it comes to transferring strength and skill to a playing field.

Point #5 – This again ties into #4. Let’s compare to a squat. Let’s say you can squat 225 for 10 reps. How do you make it harder? Easy, add a couple more lbs of plates. Now let’s say you are training with a 115 stone and loading it onto a box. You can’t just add a few pounds to a stone, so you need to bring other aspects into it. These can be time, distance, sets, reps, etc.

Point #6 – Studies have shown that young athletes respond better to odd object training than they do to standard weight training.

In addition to these points, most of these tools are free and fun to work with!

When I am training for a contest, event training begins to take up the majority of my training sessions. This can not only get boring but these days are usually very heavy days and you can’t lift heavy every day. When my workouts need to be toned down a bit, and I need to keep my head right, my non-event days are dominated by odd training tools that are challenging and effective but not overly massive loads. This will allow my body to be able to adapt and recover to the intense training, especially when I use a recovery boot. I am attaching a video below of some of the things I added into my training during my prep for the last contest.

The video contains some Stone Presses, Inverted Kettle Bell Presses, Single Arm Keg Presses, Heavy Single Arm Keg Presses (in addition to heavy, these are unstable, and almost impossible), Sledge Decelerations, and careful Sledge Levering (don’t try this one at home). It is easy to see how much stabilization, grip, and multiple muscles are used in these movements. These objects provide a challenge, change, and will increase the benefits to your training, so start using them, and reap the benefits.