Everyone who starts a training regimen always wants to jump into the advanced, “sexy” stuff. Most gym members consider themselves advanced athletes, and then make the mistake of skipping the foundation work and try to walk before they crawl. This is WRONG.
The truth of the matter is that most of these “athletes” will never reach peak performance or elite status because they skipped the foundation. “Push Ups…nah I will go straight to the bench.” “Bodyweight! No way, load on the plates, bro!” If you skip the foundation, you are missing the most integral part of the training pyramid. You can’t walk before you crawl, so I built you a “for dummies” training guide. Here are the 8 Unconventional Training Essentials for Dummies.
Unconventional Training Essential #1: Build a Strong Pull
Obviously, basic pull strength comes primarily from our lats, but you will also need strong shoulders and a stable core to create a solid foundation to pull from. The best way to work your pull strength is to hang from a rope, or a set of rings and activate your pulling muscles.
- Always remember to keep strong posture.
- Keep your shoulders down and back, imagine you are pinching a golf ball between your shoulder blades.
- When you pull, keep your shoulders packed and your elbows tight to your core.
Unconventional Training Essential #2: Build Your Push
The majority of pushing strength is going to come from your chest, but if your shoulders are not down and back you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. To build a strong push we like to start off with crawling and then move into a push sequence to build a solid foundation.
- Always keep a neutral spine.
- Lock in your abs maintaining a strong, tall posture.
- During any push you perform fight the urge to break posture.
Unconventional Training Essential #3: Learn How to Hinge
When hinging, your primary movers are your hips, as well as your glutes, core, and hamstrings. A great place to start hinge movements is a deadlift with a soft bend in your knees. Once the core, the glutes, and the hamstrings are in tune with each other you can move into more dynamic movements like tire flips.
- Always keep a neutral spine while hinging.
- Learn how to fire your hips, glutes, and hamstrings simultaneously.
- Start with static hip hinge movements before moving onto more dynamic or ballistic movements.
Unconventional Training Essential #4: Strengthen Your Core
Just being able to pull yourself up and hold is a great indicator of core strength. Most would not think to perform static holds, outside of the plank, to build a six pack. Before you get into holds or other dynamic core movements start off with crawls. Again, always going back to the foundational movement of your youth. If it is good enough for a baby, it is good enough for you.
- Start off with crawls before moving into more advanced core movements.
- Again, maintain a neutral spine and keep a strong posterior chain to counter balance.
- Shoulders wide and back, keep your knees up and spread load your weight across your hands and feet while your crawl.
- As you build up your strength you can get into more advanced core strength movements.
Unconventional Training Essential #5: Boulder Shoulders
If you don’t have a solid foundation in your shoulders you will get injured trying to do a handstand or monkey bar climbs. Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint and is built to go through a full range of motion, taking on various loads. A great way to build strong shoulder foundation is proper posture.
- Make sure to keep a strong neutral spine with strong posture while you perform your push, pull, and core workouts.
- These workouts will naturally build up your shoulders.
- You want to move your shoulder through more movements than front to back and side to side.
- Make sure to move your shoulder with and without load using a myriad of exercises and movements.
Unconventional Training Essential #6: Build an Iron Grip
There are lots of different variations of the grip. Hook grip, barbell grip, finger grip, pinch grip, etc. You want to work all of these grip styles, but you also want to work the counter of this, opening your grip. Always open up your hands and pull back the other way just as much or half as much than working your grip. This will create much healthier hands, wrists, and elbows.
- Build up grip strength slowly.
- Always stretch and perform myofascial release while building grip foundation.
- This foundation will allow you to perform more dynamic grip movements with different human movements.
Unconventional Training Essential #7: Build Your Hands
The first way to build hand strength is crawling…..again. When crawling, keep your hands spread out wide, like the roots of a tree. This hand spread will create a stronger foundation creating a healthy base for your crawls, handstands, etc.
- Keep your hands spread out wide, doing this will send the load into your forearms and save your wrists.
- Always build up your hand strength in ways other than working on grip alone.
Unconventional Training Essential #8: Take Care of Your Feet & Ankles
Yep…You guessed it. To build up the ankles and feet we start with crawling. The crawl is the foundation of human movement, so it only makes sense to use this as you strive to rebuild your own foundation. Dynamic mobility movements and SMR are great ways to build up range of motion in your feet and ankles.
- Always perform SMR at the start of your workout.
- Follow that with a dynamic warmup to build range of motion in your feet and ankles.
- Crawling is the foundation of all human movement. Perform it often, even if you have evolved past it.