What exactly is “unconventional training”, and how can use it in your home training or gym routines to make training more fun and effective? Here’s the 101 on unconventional training – the equipment, the workouts, and what to expect.

What is unconventional training?

Chances are you’ve done some sort of “unconventional training” even if you didn’t know that’s what it’s called. Most gyms these days have kettlebells, battleropes, sandbags, and other training tools. That’s what we’re talking about here.

Unconventional training builds real-world strength and functional fitness, using odd objects like mace balls, Indian clubs, and (perhaps the most common training tool of all) kettlebells.

If conventional training is the gym training we are used to: barbell lifts, dumbbell work, cable exercises, and machines, unconventional training is all the fun stuff like lifting, carrying, loading, pushing, and pulling.

10 benefits of unconventional training

  1. Unconventional training builds functional fitness and strength
  2. It moves you through all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, and transverse)
  3. It’s more efficient (and fun!) than cardio machines or low intensity weights
  4. It challenges your proprioception and core stability – important for real world strength and fitness in later life
  5. Got a home gym? Unconventional training kit is much more cost-effective than buying strength or cardio machines or a multi gym
  6. Offer endless variety and mental stimulation – you’ll never get bored of unconventional training workouts
  7. It trains your rotational power, explosiveness, and torque – which will transfer to sports performance
  8. It’s a great way to boost your metabolic conditioning (as a by-product, you’ll start looking leaner!)
  9. Unconventional training target things that traditional weights can’t – like grip strength
  10. And it improves performance, health, wellbeing and mood

How to start unconventional training

Unconventional training incorporates kettlebells, battle ropes, sandbags, steel maces, tyres and other “odd objects”. You can expect to do compound movements, unilateral training, and short bursts of intense effort, with movements focusing on push, pull, lift, flip, throw, carry, and load.

How to combine unconventional training with regular gym workouts

Much as we love unconventional training here at Gravity Fitness, it’s not the only kind of training we do. Traditional styles of weight training still have a place in your training plan.

Traditional weight training builds muscle but tends to keep you moving through the same fixed planes of motion. Unconventional training demands that you move fluidly and naturals

To get the best of both words, combine the traditional lifts (a variation of a squat, hip hinge/deadlift, and press or push) with a range of unconventional training. Remove the light accessory work from your weight training (it’s mostly useless, and pretty boring!) and replace with a short finisher using unconventional training tools. It’s the ultimate S&C work.

You can also replace your LISS cardio with some unconventional training – it will burn just as many calories, but the bonus is it will accomplish this in much less time and will be a lot more fun! Imagine a circuit of kettlebell swings, battle rope work, and ball slams. Sounds better than 20 minutes on the cross trainer, doesn’t it?

Our top 5 unconventional training tools

At Gravity Fitness, we love any equipment that makes fitness more functional, enjoyable, and effective. Unconventional training definitely accomplishes that! Here’s what the team likes to use:

Mace bells
Slam balls
Heavy tyres

Sandbags or functional fitness backpacks

Do you combine unconventional training with traditional methods? What are your favourite exercises or workouts? We’d love to hear from you.

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