Unconventional Training is Taking Over

Published: 04th July 2009
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Unconventional training methods are rapidly being incorporating into the fitness regimen of people around the world. Unconventional Training, defined as untraditional fitness methods involving kettlebells, Clubbells, sandbags, and other "old school" equipment is a huge departure from the common body building equipment and techniques that have been popular for decades. The reasons are numerous: unconventional training methods focus on functional fitness and strength, they are more efficient than hours of cardio, and they are cheaper than machines and gyms.

This isn't to say that bodybuilding techniques and equipment don't have a place in this new world of unconventional training; bodybuilding-type isometric training still enables people to build muscle and definition. The big difference is the efficiency of other methods. A 10 to 15 minute workout with kettlebells can get you extreme gains in strength and conditioning; the ballistic motions incorporate numerous muscle groups, enabling trainees to get the most bang for their buck.

The following is a list of Unconventional Training Methods that are starting to get popular (in no particular order):

Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells are cast iron weights that look somewhat like a cannonball with a handle. The round shape of kettlebells along with the thick handle allow for a multitude of exercises using one or two kettlebells at a time. Unlike dumbbells, barbells, or other one or two handed weights, kettlebells were made for ballistic exercises aimed at all-around fitness versus isolated muscle development. The unbalanced weight displacement of kettlebell training requires additional energy to balance the weight during kettlebell training.

Kettlebells are utilized by athletes and soldiers throughout the world for good reason, they develop the strength, flexibility, and overall conditioning needed for all athletics. Needless to say, anyone can gain strength and power through kettlebells.

Weighted Hiking
Weighted hiking is just what it sounds like: hiking with weights. Put on a backpack full of weight or a weighted vest and hit the trail. Weighted hiking is an efficient form of training that helps build strength, endurance, and overall conditioning in less time than running for hours on level ground. Weighted hiking also helps prepare hikers for long excursions and future soldiers for the rigors of boot camp and military duty.

Sandbag Training
There aren't too many pieces of fitness equipment that are simpler than sandbags. In its most basic form, it is just a bag of sand, just like you see during floods protecting homes. There are some more durable sandbags, like The Ultimate Sandbag, which features grips, leak-proof zippers (to avoid getting sand everywhere), and adjustable filler bags that allow for quick weight adjustments during your sandbag training.

No matter where they come from, the features of sandbags make them a challenging piece of fitness equipment: they are awkward to grab a hold of, difficult to keep control of, and a pain in the butt to keep moving in the direction you want them to. All of which make sandbag training effective. All-in-all, sandbags are a perfect piece of training equipment for a whole-body workout that requires grip strength like few others.

Indian Club Training (or Clubbell Training)
Indian Clubs are weighted clubs that resemble a bat or bowling pin. In use since the late 19th century, Indian Clubs were originally made of wood, but are more recently created with metal. Indian Clubs are also called Clubbells by some fitness enthusiasts. One of the primary benefits of training with Indian Clubs is the ability to prevent shoulder injuries. Indian Clubs help users gain both shoulder strength and flexibility, leading to fewer sports-related injuries. Swinging Indian Clubs requires shoulder, wrist, and elbow coordination, helping you promote joint health. In addition, the swinging motions require both hand-eye coordination and a certain amount of concentration, allowing athletes to further enhance their performance with Indian Clubs.

Bodyweight Training
Bodyweight training is a strength training technique that uses your bodyweight for resistance, rather than pieces of fitness equipment. The most common bodyweight exercises include push ups, sit ups, squats, and pull ups. Bodyweight training requires you to use your own bodyweight as resistance, requiring the use of multiple muscle groups for each exercise. This means that you can enhance your flexibility and balance while also increasing strength at the same time. In addition, some bodyweight exercises also have the ability to rapidly increase your speed and endurance through intense training routines.

Grip Strength Training
Basically, grip strength is your ability to grip an object with your hand. In terms of functional strength, there is no better example than grip strength. Whether you're a power lifter trying to do your maximum deadlift or a desk jockey on the computer for 12 hours a day, building iron grip strength can provide you with substantial benefits. If you're planning on improving your overall strength, iron grip strength can get you there much faster. Iron grip strength can even play a role in injury prevention.

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