One of my favorite alternative styled workouts to do involves taking two heavy weights, picking up both weights, one in each hand, and walking as fast as possible for a given time or distance—most commonly known as the farmer walk. At this point, you’re probably in a concerned state wondering if I happened to get knocked upside the head today. I mean really, what does farmer walks have anything to do with unilateral kettlebell exercises? Let me explain:
As I spent some time walking with these heavy weights in each hand, I wondered what else I could possibly do with these heavy weights.
I decided that instead of picking up both weights in each hand, I was going to pick up only one weight in one hand and walk with it as fast as possible for a given distance or time.
The results were extraordinary for such a simple alteration!
When I finished the walk, I could feel my side opposite of the weight lighting up with that burn that we expect to feel after a good workout.
What I learned was that in order to compensate for the weight on the one side of my body, the side without the weight had to work overtime in order to maintain position—it allowed me to work these stabilizer muscles that I didn’t even know existed!
The same concept mentioned above can be applied to unilateral kettlebell exercises. You allow for the stimulation of those stabilizer muscles in order to help maintain your body’s position.
As mentioned in a previous article regarding unilateral bodyweight exercises, unilateral movement is our most primitive form of movement and it is how we were designed to move. To incorporate more unilateral exercises into ones workout could only be beneficial.
The corresponding video displays the following unilateral kettlebell exercises as one continuous series of movements:
- altered row
- backward lunge
- push press
Again, this idea regarding unilateral kettlebell exercises and their importance in working stabilizing musculature and adding a necessary balance into one’s workout is a simple, but blatantly overlooked concept. Since there is such a high importance to this concept, it is definitely not something that should be so overlooked. I recommend that you take it into your own hands, consider the concept deeply, and implement it into your training program.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo1iSFTjNkM&w=560&h=315]
Greg is an exercise science major at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with minors in biology and coaching. He is also a lifelong athlete – involved in the sports of basketball, baseball, football, track & field and volleyball growing up. Competed at Shippensburg University in the shot put, discus, and hammer events as a Division II Track & Field athlete.