I used to scoff at strongman training. I’d ask myself when would I ever need to hoist a giant rock up and throw it over my shoulder. Well, present-day me sure is glad I entered the world of functional fitness training and was exposed to movements like tire flips and sandbag carries.

It all really came in handy when I found myself as a new homeowner, building a patio from scratch in my then-crummy backyard. I’m talking clearing ground, pulling up tree roots, shoveling hundreds of pounds of dirt, laying 24-inch by 24-inch pavers, and lugging a trashcan full of yard debris more than 50 yards.

Sure was happy I had spent some time with buckets full of rocks.

All this to say, odd object training comes in handy.


What Is Odd Object Training?

Odd object training refers to training with any type of of object that is, well, odd. This means your usual barbells, dumbbells, bumper plates, and kettlebells — all things purposely designed to be easy to move — are off limits.

For odd-object training, you’ll use items that aren’t ergonomic (that is, they make it difficult to establish a lifting position) or items with variable weight (like a sandbag, in which the weight shifts depending on your grip).

Training with odd objects forces you to engage more muscle fibers than you normally might while using a barbell or other traditional weight. There’s no such thing as an isolation exercise when it comes to odd object training, because your entire body must work as one unit in order to safely and effectively move the weight.

Ahead, learn about five different odd object items and how to use them.


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