When people commit to personal training, they invest in themselves physically, mentally, psychologically and financially. They also commit to a professional who will help them move through varied programming to accomplish predetermined goals, while preparing for challenges that may emerge at any time. At the same time they want a program that will keep them healthy and injury free. Such programming could include increasing athletic performance, setting goals and objectives and achieving them, participating in general fitness related activities, or more. It would be counterproductive to embark on a life changing journey only to get hurt and not be able to continue to train.
Unconventional or alternative adjunct training is one way through the dilemma of how to stay safe and fit and allow gains to flow into continuous longevity and healthfulness. Such training is not mutually exclusive. Options can include: unconventional methods to train for health, doing full routines, varying the different routines weekly, or using varied methods pulled from alternative or adjunct training to be used as “finishers” to general fitness routines. A finisher basically ends your training for the day, and can be of higher or lower intensity based on the objectives of the daily routine.
Some examples of these types of training methods include club swinging, kettlebell training, suspension training and water exercise. Club swinging is often utilized for circular strength, stamina and grip development. Club swinging is a great full body routine that takes advantage of developing strength at odd angles of weakness. This mode could be a great device to help a martial artist get more adept at handling weapons, as well as any athlete who engages in contact sports; or for someone who wants to employ muscles at angles they didn’t know they could use. Clubs assist in bilateral as well as unilateral coordination and strength, and their usage involves tremendous concentration and focus. Club swinging can certainly be called a fun, challenging and adventurous journey!
The Kettlebell, shaped like a cannon ball with an odd shaped handle, is the tool used in kettlebell training. The kettlebell itself has unique features that differentiate it from dumbbells and clubs, yet also lend it to similarity of use. The kettle utilizes odd angles, full body motion, acceleration and power to assist in strength, stamina and endurance. It is a wonderful tool that can be employed both unilaterally and bilaterally. The design of the kettlebell handle and the load of the “ball’s” weight challenge proper alignment, balance and coordination in unique ways, developing special kinesthetic awareness, motor learning and application of force. Many people have taken up kettlebell training after many years of weight training, and either learned to integrate training methods or gave up conventional training altogether, having developed a new found love for this very old, newly rediscovered method.
Suspension training, or “rope” training, developed as an adjunct training for navy personnel who need to train while employed on a vessel for an uncertain length of time with little space. Rope routines utilize one’s body weight while suspended against gravity. Either one’s hands or feet would contact a loop made in the suspension system, and exercises would be performed at varying degrees of difficulty. Such training develops stamina, muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, core stability and grip strength endurance. There are many companies marketing and touting their product. Some are better than others, with great ergonomics and ease of operation. Back in the day, however, a length of rope was the best utilized and only material for such creative endeavors.
Water exercise is a great way to open up over-used joints and develop flexibility and dynamic range of motion while maintaining cardiovascular conditioning, with no pounding on the bones and soft tissue. Water exercise is great way to rehabilitate from an injury or just “change up” a routine to give the body some recovery time without overdoing it. Water exercise can be done with the use of equipment that will meet the water with resistance and build strength, stamina, muscular endurance and cardio vascular endurance. It can be done with higher or lower intensity, based upon the set goals and objectives. Typically, one utilizes a waist belt that holds them with their head at just above water level; hand held devices, oddly shaped dumbbells, help round off the regimen. This routine can be done in deep or shallow water.
Unconventional or alternative adjunct training can be individual methods or integrated as parts of other routines. After many years of training others I have found that varying many different types of routine helps one stay healthy and free from chronic repetitive injuries. Don’t be daunted by different methods. Give it a try!