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Benefits of Odd Object Training

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The Benefits of Odd Object Training
by: Coach Tyler

Barbells are an extremely common tool in the CrossFit community for very good reason.  They allow for functional movements to be performed with heavy loading and can lead to huge gains in strength, coordination, balance, and overall health.  However, sometimes the best way to see some gains in your lifts is to step away from the barbell.  Accessory work on weaknesses within your movement patterns and body can go a long way.  Described below are three movements that can be extremely beneficial for overall quality of life and also have tremendous carry-over into your workouts.

D-Ball Cleans

This movement is incredible at forcing full hip extension in every rep.  When athletes of any level perform reps with a relatively heavy D-ball, it is impossible to keep your hips closed and generate the force necessary to shoulder the ball (see picture above).  Cleans with the D-ball are great tools to be used for anyone struggling with movements requiring explosive hip extension (clean & jerk, snatch, push press/jerk, etc).  This same movement pattern and hip extension is something that everyone uses during a normal day and has a high level of carry-over.  

DB Overhead Lunges

If you struggle with overhead movements and struggle to maintain an active shoulder, this movement can help a ton.  The weight of the DB can be adjusted depending on your skill level and level of shoulder stability, but the general purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the upper back and shoulder muscles while changing your center of gravity.  Any movement that requires some form of overhead stability (press, snatch, gymnastics movements) will benefit from this exercise.  The strength, flexibility, and stability of the shoulder joint can be improved in just about anyone and this exercise is a very effective means to do so.  

Farmer’s Carry

Carries are an extremely simple exercise, but also one of the most beneficial.  Simply picking up a heavy object and walking for a set distance leads to huge increases in overall strength.  The back, shoulders, core, and grip can see massive improvements.  The best part is that they can be done anywhere and you can use just about anything with some weight and a decent grip.  In the gym, kettlebells and dumbbells are the most obvious choices.  However, outside of the gym there are tons of different items that can be used.  5 gallon buckets full of dirt, wheelbarrows, and cement blocks can all be just as effective as everyday gym equipment.  There is no comparison to the farmer’s carry in developing strength under tension.