Are Unconventional Training Methods (UTM’s) Just a Fad?
If you're part of the Unconventional Training Underground, you know that methods like kettlebells, sandbags, Indian Clubs, battle ropes, and the like are much more than a fad; these methods are a lifestyle for people all over the world. Comparing something like kettlebell training to a fad like the Thigh Master is like comparing a thousand-year-old religion to a cult; one has been established, developed, and practiced by millions, while the other has only caught on with a select group of crazies.
The big difference is that UTM’s weren't created by some random, self-glorified personal trainer (although many of these people try to exploit them); most of these training methods were developed hundreds or thousands of years ago and have survived the ages because they provide real, lasting benefits to those that use them. Let’s take the history of kettlebells for example. Kettlebells were developed in Russia hundreds of years ago; their first recorded mention was in a Russian dictionary in 1704. They were originally used as counterweights in Russian markets and eventually became a popular training tool once merchants began to toss them around for sport. While kettlebell training has been used by Russian athletes and soldiers throughout history, kettlebells have just recently gained popularity in the United States within the last ten years.
Another good example is Indian Clubs. Developed in India thousands of years ago, Indian Clubs derived from the war club, or Gada. Used by millions throughout history, Indian Clubs were eventually adopted by the British army in the 1800s and were used as a military training method. Greatly popularized by educators, physicians, and religious leaders in the second half of the 19th century in America, Indian Clubs became an ideal way to stay fit and healthy. As they have throughout history, Indian Clubs are becoming increasingly popular.
What Makes Unconventional Training Method’s Special (and Better than More Popular Techniques?)
While each UTM has some specialized benefits, all UTM’s have a few things in common:
Muscle Chains vs Individual Muscles:
Rather than working a single muscle, or muscle group, like bodybuilding style isometric exercises, UTM’s work multiple muscle groups at the same time, creating a more efficient workout that provides functional benefits.
Functional Strength vs Simple Movements:
While bench-pressing 600-pounds is definitely a challenge, chances are you’re not going to put that awesome pressing power to use in any real situation. Instead, UTM’s can give you real world strength, agility, mobility, and stamina to function properly in everyday situations.
Longevity vs Temporary Awesomeness:
Running marathons seem to provide people with a sense of accomplishment, but it also beats the crap out of joints. Running is not a sustainable method of training because it’s harsh on joint health, it takes forever to reap any benefits, and it burns up muscle while it burns fat. UTM’s like Indian Clubs encourage joint health and can be done by anyone at any age.
Timely vs Prolonged:
Most UTM’s involve intense training rather than sustained periods of work. Instead of spending an hour in spin class, then another hour running, why not do a 30-minute, high-intensity kettlebell or sandbag workout? Both these methods provide the benefits of conditioning and weight training at the same time.
Thrifty vs Costly:
Almost all of the UTM’s can be performed in your garage, yard, or living room, and thanks to the multiplicity of training benefits combined with hundreds of full-body exercises, you may only need one piece of equipment versus an entire weight set or access to an expensive gym full of machines, classes, and trainers.
Article by Mark de Grasse of My Mad Methods