In everyday life we have to use our bodies in a variety of planes and angles, accommodating weights when we are not quite centred. It helps if we can set ourselves up to be balanced and ready before lifting or pulling an object but often it just isn’t possible. Sometimes we have to react quickly to our environment and move in an awkward way or carry a cumbersome weight that upsets balance. How can we prepare for this? By building strength in all planes of motion, in unbalanced situations and with uneven loads.
Life is wonky so we should train wonky!
Have you ever tried uneven weight training? It’s when you do an exercise using different weights in each hand, which forces stabilising muscles to contract and help out. In other words, your core switches on harder to keep you centred. This is enhanced when the weights are furthest away from your body, such as in a chest fly on a ball, or a forward raise. Any exercise where you carry uneven loads will benefit your core. Notice how hard you work when you carry unequal bags of shopping, while you aim to stay upright.
Another way to train wonky is to use a variety of foot placements when performing a squat. Trying one foot slightly forward, or toes turned out or in, feet wide or narrow, different weights on each end of the bar. All versions test the body in various ways.
Also, life happens at varying speeds so training slowly and quickly helps us develop skills we may need someday. Holding some positions is useful, e.g. lowered in a squat. Performing fast reps increases power, an important fitness variable as we age.
However you mix things up, whether it’s weights, direction of travel, limb placement, single leg stance, fast / slow moves, it will improve your functional mobility. Be brave and give it a go.