I figured I would do something special for the end of the year and that would be to list my top 5 training tools of 2009. It was hard to pull from all the things I use and do but I believe this is a fair list, when I look at what has been my focus in training, what have I seen results in, and what I believe has benefited me in ways that aren’t as simple as pounds and reps.
#5. Indian Clubs
I picked up a pair of 1 lb. wooden clubs from John Wood over a year ago and I’m glad I did. I’ve used them steadily in the past year usually for sets done between presses and pullups. I find this helps to keep the shoulder girdle and elbows healthy especially when you’re lifting heavy.
You’ll also be amazed at the coordination you develop from swinging these light clubs. For me it seems like the swinging patterns I do are easy but I’m always reminded that that’s not necessarily so when my friends give them a try. I’d rank Indian Clubs as essential for working on some of the smaller muscles and attributes of fitness.
I’ve also worked some this year off and on with heavier clubbells which I enjoy too, but that’s quite different from the light wooden clubs.
#4. Gymnastic Rings
I would list bodyweight as a tool but some might construe that as cheating so I’m selecting a tool that is used for bodyweight training, and that’s the gymnastic rings. I haven’t delved into doing an Iron Cross or Maltese or anything that major yet, I just love them for pullups.
The natural groove of being able to rotate the hands and arms as you pull makes this exercise better then on a straight bar. You can lift more and its also better for your joints as you’re not locked into one path. This is important when you do heavy weighted pullups as I do.
#3. Trap Bar
Some people love squats. Some people love deadlifts. Using a trapbar is more like a combination of the two. And I find it suits my body and long limbs better than squats or deadlifts with a barbell. I have never hurt my back on the trapbar, which I can’t say the same for barbells.
I only really use it for two exercises, the deadlift and shrugs. Even if it was just for the first exercise it’s a must own piece of equipment for me. I was able to pull 200 kg. or 440 lbs. on it this year which is good progress for me.
I love short bending. Other bending like horseshoes, scrolling and braced bending is great too but I’ve stuck with short bending the longest and gotten the most out of it. In 2009 I went from barely bending Grade 5 bolts occasionally to killing them with a fair amount of ease. My best so far is to bend 15 in a workout. I also did 50 60D nails in half an hour this year.
If you’re familiar with bending you can probably guess my goal is to bend the red nail and I’m working up to it. I just got Grade 8 bolts and while my first attempt stopped me, I know I’ll get it soon.
Bending is great for not only hand and wrist strength but developing whole body strength that you can channel towards one single thing. It’s an addictive training and it can be over-done so know what you’re doing. I recommend the Diesel Crew’s Bending eBook to get started.
Considering my main goal has centered around completing the Beast Challenge I’ve been using kettlebells steadily in presses, pullups and pistols throughout the year and am continuing to do so. These same moves could be done the same or similarly with dumbbells but I find that kettlebells are just plain fun. I own a lot of them so I might as well put them to good use.
However the real beauty of kettlebells comes in the ballistic exercises. Obviously I’m a big fan of kettlebell juggling but I’ve been concentrating on the 10 minute snatch test recently and just hit a big goal. More on that later. This is a place where dumbbells can’t come close to matching kettlebells.
I hope you gained something out of reading this list. If you’re inspired to go out and get one or more of these training tools all the better.
You don’t have to go into as much details but comment below and list your top five of 2009. I’d love to hear from you. Plus it may have to be something I go out and try.