Unconventional Training is a rapidly growing trend in fitness, but it is also one of the least understood. If you asked someone who claims to be an “expert” in Unconventional Training, most likely they will define it as using unconventional tools for high intensity training.
The thing is, just because you use a kettlebell, sandbag, steel mace, steel club, or odd object, it doesn’t mean you are using the comprehensive methodologies outlined in Unconventional Training. Here are five signs that the so-called Unconventional Training expert you hired doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.
Warning Sign #1: Lots of Stuff, but No Actual Program
Alternative implements like battle ropes, kettlebells, clubs, and such are great, but just because you incorporated one or two of them into an interval circuit doesn’t mean you’re training properly. Each implement has its own set of exercises (hundreds of them in most cases) as well as specific training techniques that take advantage of their unique attributes.
Warning Sign #2: Too Much Go, Not Enough Show
If you walk into your first session with your new personal trainer and he or she “instructs” you on a standard kettlebell exercise like the 2-Hand Swing in 30 seconds or less, they don’t know what they’re doing. Ballistic exercises like the Kettlebell Swing are entirely new to the majority of people and require special instruction and preparation in order to be performed correctly.
Unconventional Trainers have specific movement preparation warm ups as well as progressive exercise variations to ensure that you safely learn new methodologies; trainers that don’t know what they’re doing don’t care or don’t understand (either choice is dangerous for you).
Warning Sign #3: New Workout Tools, Same Old Exercises
At the end of the day, all workout tools are inanimate objects that can do nothing for you until you put them to use. There is nothing special about a kettlebell, club, or rope besides the way you use them. If your personal trainer makes you pick up a kettlebell and perform upright rows with it, is it truly “unconventional?”
Probably not! If your trainer can’t articulate the reason why the dumbbell exercise you just did with a kettlebell was somehow special, he or she doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Warning Sign #4: You’re Failing & Your Trainer Isn’t Stopping You
When you played sports as a kid, how often was your coach content with your sloppy kick in soccer? Chances are that you got an earful and had to run a lap! Same is true for the majority of technical Unconventional Training lifts; if you’re performing rep after rep, fatigue is getting to you and is starting to affect your form.
If the exercise you’re doing just feels wrong, you should be getting guidance from your trainer! Unconventional Trainers should have some specific keywords that will keep your form in check, as well as a list of exercise regressions that they will make you switch to if your form can’t be corrected.
Warning Sign #5: No Warm Up, No Longevity
One of the key aspects of Unconventional Training is encouraging the highest level of functional proficiency throughout your ENTIRE LIFE. This point is reinforced by the Unconventional Trainer’s emphasis on warm up and mobility.
If you show up to your session and go immediately into strength or work sets, your trainer has missed an important opportunity to prepare your body both safe training and maximum output. Your trainer should have some specific movements to prepare your body for the lifts you are about to perform.
Finding a qualified Unconventional Trainer may be difficult right now, but definitely not impossible! The Onnit Academy is working day and night to create new programs that will have your local trainer up and running in no time.
If it is still impossible to find one, there is nothing wrong with traditional bodybuilding techniques (as long as you’re not looking for the unique benefits that Unconventional Training can provide, like longevity, athleticism, and functional proficiency).