I love training one tool at a time.
The stress that it places on the body to maintain posture during movement is priceless to me.
Sure, you’ll sacrifice the amount of weight that you’re able to use for the movement(s), but you’ll sacrifice something with every training method that you choose.
Single device training could be born out of necessity not having enough equipment or from a simple desire to breathe some fresh air into a stale program.
Staleness sucks. You’ll stop training when things get stale. The workout will feel like a chore more than a chance to challenge and better yourself. Stale is boring.
For me, I started single device training with dumbbells and medicine balls first. I was traveling and wanted to get a workout but the equipment in the hotel was lacking so I had to improvise to get some kind of respectable training effect.
Working out with one dumbbell at a time is effective in that you can use a weight that is challenging and most people are familiar with using dumbbells as a training tool.
However, since I am deeply in love with kettlebells- their flow and versatility I now prefer KB’s to DB’s (that’s kettlebells to dumbbells by the way).
The flow of a kettlebell is unmatched. I can’t say enough about it. Especially when you start working in single device training sessions, you’ll find that being able to flow from one exercise to the other seamlessly provides a much more enjoyable experience.
Here is an example of an improvised single device complex that I threw together.
***Remember, a complex involves 4-8 exercises grouped together without rest between movements. Complexes are metabolically demanding and probably not suited for beginners, although there are progressions that beginners can work through to get to a true no rest complex. It just takes time, like everything else.
Progression is everything. Don’t skip the basics.
You’ll notice in the title of this post I wrote “… for Indirect Core Training”. I mean that. Anytime you load one side of the body and not the other, you’ll find that the unloaded side’s musculature contract aggressively and goes into overdrive to maintain posture. If you’re paying attention to your exercise technique during a uni-laterally (fancy term for one/single sided) loaded movement, you’re going to have to work harder to maintain a normal posture against those uneven forces. Your torso musculature will light up like a Christmas tree, naturally. No need for direct core work here.
I love it.
Even just pressing a dumbbell or a kettlebell over head one side at a time delivers such a unique training stimulus. You’ll be sore in places you’re typically never sore, assuming that you are fighting to maintain that perfect posture. When that happens, just understand that it happened because you loaded your body unevenly.
We tend to train everything with both legs or arms mirroring each other, so breaking out of the norm and going single arm or single leg is a great training tactic for the body.
Cheers from the great city of Eau Claire, WI…