My typical trip from the car to the front door: My backpack is slung over my right shoulder, gym bag on the same side, door key in right hand, holding my computer bag, lunch bag, and water bottle in left hand. Stepping on front step, I reach the front door to put the key in, reach for the handle and the backpack slides off my shoulder. The door flies open as I stumble in and drop the gym bag on the dog. Anyone else try this?
Every day our bodies move in situations that require balance, strength, coordination, stability, and mobility. These movements are not always with a balanced weight and we are often required to react to situations. These movements require that some muscles be stable and others mobile.
When training the body, it must be trained for stability and mobility – preferably before adding an external load (weight). The idea is to make the muscles stable that are supposed to be stable and the muscles that are supposed to move more mobile.
There are different ways to improve the stabilizers. One way is to use unilateral (single arm or single leg) type exercises. These exercises are typically not done until good form is demonstrated using bilateral movements (2 legs, 2 arms). It is important to build strength with 2 feet on the ground first!
Core stability can also be trained by adding functional variety to workouts with different weights on each side of the body. This is called offset loading.
Offset loading is when a greater load is used on one side than on the other. Depending on the exercise, using offset loading causes stabilizer muscles to be engaged in the core (shoulders to hips), thus preparing it for unpredictable and unstable situations. Offset loading is used to enhance workouts and can be quite advanced depending on the exercise and amount of weight used.
One such exercise is the offset load suitcase and rack lunge walk with kettlebells. This is an advanced exercise that I am using to demonstrate offset load training. A qualified trainer/coach can evaluate strength and stability and make sure that the exercise is done correctly.
Kettlebell Offset Loaded Rack and Suitcase Lunge Walk
Take 2 kettlebells of different weights. For example, a 15 lb and a 25 lb kettlebell. Hold the lighter kettlebell in the “rack” position where it is settled in the crook of your arm and the heavier one down at your side. Do 12 lunge walk steps keeping your chest up and chin up. See the video for a demonstration here.
Using offset loading can be applied to sports or just plain life movements in general. Variety and safe creativity in workouts help minimize the risk of injury, make the workout more challenging, and improve your Total Human Performance!