As an ever evolving sport, high intensity interval training is constantly adding new movements into its cannon. This keeps our athletes sharp and adaptable, ever willing to learn new skills. As long as what evolves fits in with the core value of "functional training", we welcome new ideas and new gear. And if it doesn't work, you can expect to see it ejected post haste. So lets take a look at some non-traditional gear that is slowly making its way into some affiliate gyms and see if they can make the grade.
A landmine is a hinged sleeve that fits the end of an Olympic bar. The motion is akin to churning butter in an enormous, heavy vat. The landmine will help an athlete build core rotational stability through a full, rotational range of motion. This helps develop peak core power as well as balance and strength in the deep stabilizers. It also teaches the athlete how to transfer power from the core to the extremities.
Landmine training can help with all Olympic lifts as they require a deep stability while executing powerful movements. The addition of actual Landmine gear (as opposed to simply putting the bar in a corner) allows for a deeper, more even rotation as the athlete doesn't have to struggle with the bar hitting the edges of the corner. Good gear also allows for multiple athletes to train landmines so that they can be worked into daily WODs.
We are all familiar with the thick heavy rope gear used for rope climbs. Battle ropes is a technique of working these ropes on the ground to help develop strength in the large muscle groups and the core. It is also a good, preparatory cardio workout for those who have difficulty running due to the impact. Two of these ropes can be secured at one end to a stationary object. The athlete then lifts them alternately as high as possible and then slams them down for a predetermined time or number of rounds. As gear, the ropes are relatively cheap, and easy to store. But is this exercise as good as, say, wall balls or medicine balls for core training? Probably not. But they do lend a fresh movement to what can sometimes become stale programming and they are pretty easy to work into a WOD. Plus, they really are a cardio bitch.
The TRX is ubiquitous in traditional gyms nationwide. There are TRX classes everywhere and the gear is touted as one of the best core training exercisers on the market. This is because the TRX asks you to create your own stability through the use of your own muscles as opposed to the stability of the rack. Pushups, pullups, dips and ring rows become much more challenging when performed off-plane on the TRX gear. TRX is hard.
Additionally, the TRX gear asks you to execute movements that require a much wider range of motion. It challenges the athlete's flexibility, which is often deeply affected by the traditional programming. The addition of the TRX gear into affiliate gyms is a natural fit.
It is critically important that fitness as a sport stays adaptable. This can most effectively be addressed by fearlessly trying new things and claiming them as our own, if they fit the heart of the practice. Fresh and fun, these few additions can help us all become more functional athletes.