Power of Asymmetrical Loading
When we talk about training different planes of motions, many coaches’ heads start spinning. The idea of moving in all sorts of ways can be overwhelming to many. “Where do you start?” “How do you progress?”Are just some of the million questions that coaches end up having and let’s face it, the industry overall hasn’t done a great job answering them! However, the easiest way to begin introducing other planes of motion is through asymmetrical loading. Hmmm, how does that work? First, let’s make sure we understand what I mean by asymmetrical loading. While most will think instantly of probably using a weight on one side of the body, we actually have four means in which to create asymmetrical loads….
-One weight on one side of the body.
-Two different weights on either side of the body.
-Splitting the body position into either a split stance, single arm/leg, or alternating.
-A combination of all of these variables.
When you think of asymmetrical loading in this manner you begin to see that learning to RESIST forces is the first step in introducing multi-planar concepts. When we walk, run, or perform most every day activities we don’t just produce force, our bodies have to learn to resist it as well. Otherwise we would have great compensations in our movement patterns. The beauty of asymmetrical loading is that it can come in many different forms. This month’s Metabolic Stability focuses on four great ways of introducing these concepts to your clients.
Kettlebell Off-Set Lunge to Half Kneeling Press
One reason that the concepts of asymmetrical loading are not more popular is that they require us house less load. This leads many coaches to incorrectly assume that they aren’t building “strength” while performing these movements. The reality is that this can be the key for many in unlocking their strength potential. A great example is the kettlebell off-set lunge to half kneeling press. That is a mouthful, but it is well worth writing into your workouts. Off-set refers to two different weights being used for this drill. Doing so allows us to build progressively anti-rotational forces and using tension to help learn how to move in more complex environments. Lunging is one of the easiest and best examples of asymmetrical body positions that we can train from. They obviously lead us to being in half kneeling postures, which we can use by themselves, and correspond most closely to many of the real world tasks we end up performing. Combining these elements create not only a great corrective or stability exercise, but one that has a huge impact upon strength and metabolic training.
Ultimate Sandbag Leg Threading and Arc Pressing
Many people have gotten away from lunging by itself because of the popularity of the turkish get-up. While the get-up has a lunge in it, using the extended leverage of the get-up as a means of teaching and improving the asymmetrical loading can prove to be very challenging for many clients. We can focus on specific aspects of the get-up with some Ultimate Sandbag Leg Threading and Arc Pressing progressions. You will immediately notice the Ultimate Sandbag series doesn’t require an extended load position. This allows these movements to be introduced more progressively, yet, they still place HUGE emphasis on frontal plane stability. Watch as you can see how we move very easily in three layers of progressions, all building upon one another. Progression in this case doesn’t have to be load based, but can have a great focus upon movement.
TRX Bird Dog
Since asymmetrical patterns can be extremely challenging to clients, using leverage as a means of progression can be a powerful way to progress individuals. The TRX Bird Dog series allows us to introduce anti-rotational and anti-extension concepts in a wide array of ways. We can easily customize the exercise based upon the leverage from the anchor point as well as which variation we choose. People often forget that the Bird Dog can be used in a variety of means other than just on the ground. In fact, many clients may not be prepared to start on the ground or have issues beginning on the ground and this series allows us to introduce these incredibly beneficial concepts in many different levels.
Valslide Alligator Walks
One of the beautiful things we love about doing Metabolic Stability every month is the ability to show you how exercises and progressions cause these seamless bridges in training. While the TRX Bird Dog is a more foundational anti-rotational and asymmetrical exercise (can be quite advance at times) the Valslide Alligator Walks are more advanced. If you watch the movement of the body during the exercise you will see some familiarity with that of walking and running. Not in the limb movement, but what happens in the trunk during the “walking” action. This is not only an incredible strength training drill for core strength or shoulder stability, but teaches us how to create a stable foundation and proper skills for pressing overhead. The goal of this month was to not only show you asymmetrical exercises that can help your training, but to remind you that many should be focusing on these skills. These SHOULD be the emphasis of many exercise programs and you will be amazed at how the standard “gym lifts” skyrocket!
Josh Henkin, CSCS, is the creator of the DVRT system and Ultimate Sandbag. Coach Henkin has taught his program to elite military, university programs, and top fitness facilities in over 13 countries worldwide. You can find out more about DVRT education HERE.